There was an exhortation for endurance and a newfound optimism for the long run. There have been assurances a couple of disciplined type of play and the willingness to construct a successful tradition. And there was a shout out to the 1990s Knicks.
It was not déjà vu. It was one more introduction of a brand new Knicks coach, this time Tom Thibodeau, a former Coach of the Yr Award winner, whose hiring was introduced at a Zoom information convention on Thursday.
“This can be a dream come true for me,” Thibodeau, 62, mentioned in ready remarks. “That is my dream job. I’ve been there earlier than. I’ve a fantastic understanding of New York. We’ve got the very best metropolis on the planet. We’ve got the very best area on the planet. We’ve got the very best followers on the planet.”
Thibodeau will develop into the crew’s eighth coach since 2011. He’s the most recent to attempt to revive the Knicks, who will miss the playoffs for the seventh straight yr, the longest streak for the franchise for the reason that 1960s.
The final time the Knicks had been a perennial powerhouse, Thibodeau had an inside view as an assistant coach from 1996 to 2003, together with a finals run, a degree he made certain to emphasise to reporters. He thanked Jeff Van Gundy, the previous Knicks coach, for hiring him then and singled out gamers like Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson and Allan Houston, who’re thought-about near-deities among the many Knicks fan base.
“We noticed how arduous they performed. They gave us all the pieces they’d each evening,” Thibodeau mentioned.
He was joined within the information convention by Leon Rose, the recently hired Knicks president, and Scott Perry, the final supervisor, whom the crew extended for at least another year. Rose has had a two-decades lengthy relationship with Thibodeau, partly as a result of Rose was a longtime agent at Creative Artists Agency, which represents Thibodeau.
“The connection offers me a consolation degree, understanding Tom for that lengthy,” Rose mentioned. He added, “Tom was actually the right candidate from the standpoint of that he’s going to demand accountability, he’s going to have improvement and he’s going to create a successful tradition.”
Thibodeau mentioned he was drawn to the Knicks due to its roster — which he known as “younger and proficient” — and his connections to the Knicks entrance workplace, in addition to the crew’s abundance of draft picks and cap area. He additionally mentioned that, so far as on-court play, he would deal with 5 pillars: protection, rebounding, low turnovers, having the ball contact the paint and making the additional cross.
“You go step-by-step. I feel you don’t skip over something,” Thibodeau mentioned. “The very first thing is to put the muse, develop your plan after which work the plan.”
Whereas Thibodeau talked about RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson as two present Knicks gamers he was keen on, it’s not clear, given the crew’s draft picks and cap area, what the roster will seem like subsequent season, which Rose acknowledged. Rose mentioned that the Knicks “had not set a timeline” for when the crew could be a playoff contender once more.
“We felt that Tom was that coach that may take us from improvement to changing into a perennial winner,” Rose mentioned.
Thibodeau spent greater than 20 years as an assistant coach within the N.B.A., growing a popularity for designing robust defenses, having an obsessive work ethic and enjoying his stars for heavy minutes. He was the architect of the protection for the 2008 Boston Celtics, who received a championship.
His first head teaching job got here within the 2010-11 season with the Chicago Bulls, the place he went to the Japanese Convention finals in his first yr. Thibodeau went 255-139 with the Bulls however was fired in 2015 after clashes with the entrance workplace. He landed with a rebuilding crew — the Minnesota Timberwolves — in 2016 as coach and president of basketball operations. Thibodeau was fired abruptly final season after solely making the playoffs as soon as and going 97-107.
He informed reporters on Thursday that whereas he had caught a couple of Knicks video games this season, he additionally traveled fairly a bit, together with a visit to unwind in Miami.
“I additionally went on trip a few occasions,” Thibodeau mentioned. “I do know individuals don’t suppose I try this.”