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A Look at the New York Knicks Coaches for 2020-21
After years of complete chaos, it seems like the New York Knicks are finally making some steps in the right direction. The organization gathered a decent young core for the future, cleared a lot of cap space, and hired a renowned head coach like Tom Thibodeau.
The experienced specialists brought plenty of assistants with him, and I explore their responsibilities in this New York Knicks coaching staff analysis for 2020-21.
You can find information about Thibodeau himself and all of his assistants, including career highlights up to this point and areas of expertise.
Tom Thibodeau – A Proven NBA Winner
Let’s start with the new Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, a proven winner in the NBA. The guy started his career in the 1980s in college basketball and moved through the ranks to earn a shot as an NBA assistant at the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1989.
After learning the trade for the next 20 years across different teams, Thibodeau was given a chance to be the Chicago Bulls’ main man in 2010.
That was a good decision, and the franchise reached the playoffs in every single season with the new head coach at the helm. It was a solid run that ended after some problems with the front office.
Thibodeau spent a season on the sidelines before the Minnesota Timberwolves hired him. He missed the playoffs for the first time in his career during the 2016-17 campaign but managed to qualify the team for the postseason in 2017-18.
The Timberwolves had a shaky start in the next campaign, and Thibodeau was fired after a 19-21 record. Based on what Minnesota has done since it looks like the head coach wasn’t the problem.
After another year without a team, reports emerged that Thibodeau was about to join the Knicks.
The New York Knicks and Tom Thibodeau are finalizing a five-year deal to make him the franchise’s next coach, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 25, 2020
The deal was soon completed, and I’m pretty sure that the organization made a good call. Some people have their doubts about the new head coach, but he brings plenty to the table.
For a start, this is a guy with an almost .589 win percentage after close to 600 regular-season games. Thibodeau has led his team to the playoffs almost every time and knows how to get the best out of his players.
He’s also a bold head coach that is not afraid to make big moves, and he’s known for installing discipline. I believe he’s perfect for the New York Knicks, who are in desperate need of building a winning culture.
Assessing the New York Knicks Assistant Coaches
As expected, Tim Thibodeau changed the main people on the New York Knicks coaching staff after his arrival and will rely mostly on his own assistants. Let’s take a look at them.
I don’t think that many people will be surprised that Thibodeau hired Darren Erman as his assistant. They worked together at the Celtics and have a strong relationship from their time in Boston.
Erman is a defensive expert who is known for his relentless work ethic, and that’s exactly the type of person that fits Thibodeau’s mentality.
Another assistant that came in 2020 is Andy Greer, who worked as a defensive coordinator under Thibodeau with the Timberwolves. That’s another coach who likes discipline and hard work, both desperately needed by the Knicks.
Andy’s brother Larry Greer also was appointed by the Knicks. Considering his previous experience, I believe he will be mainly responsible for scouting the right players for the organization in the near future and developing young athletes.
When you have a guy like Kenny Payne at your disposal, drafting a player such as Obi Toppin is a no-brainer. The assistant coach is known as one of the top specialists when it comes to developing big men for the NBA.
He’s currently working with the rookie and the Knicks fans certainly can be confident that Toppin is being prepared by one of the best in the business. Payne is an excellent addition that can work on player development and help some of the young players in New York blossom sooner rather than later.
Thibodeau also brought Mike Woodson, who has 9 years as a head coach and knows the NBA from the inside out. He’s a guy with a decent record that has worked with the New York Knicks before and is respected in the franchise.
New York Knicks Coaching Staff Verdict Ahead of 2020-21
I believe that the New York Knicks hit the jackpot by signing Tom Thibodeau as their head coach. The best thing the organization can do right now is to install some discipline, develop the young guns, and build a winning culture in 2020-21, or at least make major steps in that direction.
Thibodeau and his assistants are perfect for the job for several reasons. First of all, the head coach is known for getting the best out of his players and winning games in the NBA. He is also expected to improve the defense and the work ethic of the team. Both have been major problems for the Knicks that need addressing.
If Thibodeau and his staff succeed, the team will have a strong young core and loads of cap space. That should be enough to lure some good free agents to New York in the 2021 offseason and start something exceptional.
I don’t expect miracles in the upcoming season, but I believe that the future is bright for the Knicks.
Do you agree with my coaching staff analysis, or am I missing something important? Let me know in the comments below.
Also, please check the following posts to learn more about the coaching staff of other NBA organizations that made changes in 2020.