Tom Thibodeau, head coach of the New York Knicks, has been labelled as a defence-minded coach, but he recently pushed back against that categorization. He believes that he is a basketball coach who can coach offence, defence, player development, game-plan, scout, and evaluate personnel. Thibodeau’s team has won six consecutive victories and is averaging 120.7 points while shooting 38 per cent from the 3-point line during their winning streak, ranking them sixth in the NBA in offensive rating this season.
Thibodeau believes that understanding defence also helps with the offence because it gives an idea of matchups and how to attack certain schemes. Thibodeau has a track record of developing players, including Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Julius Randle, who became first-time All-Stars under his tutelage. Derrick Rose also became the youngest MVP in NBA history alongside Thibodeau with the Bulls in 2010-11.
Both Butler and Randle were named the league’s Most Improved Player while coached by Thibodeau, and Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson could be a finalist for that award this season.
The Knicks recently signed Duane Washington Jr. to a two-way contract. The Suns waived Washington on Feb. 1 after averaging 7.9 points and 2.0 assists in 31 appearances (two starts) with Phoenix this season. The 22-year-old Ohio State product had a 26-point, seven-assist game in December.