Mixed opinions have surfaced regarding the New York Knicks’ hiring of Tom Thibodeau, a hard-nosed and relentless coach.
The long-awaited New York Knicks coaching hire came to fruition with a five-year deal for former Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau. The signing, executed by new team president Leon Rose, received praise by many, but not all responses were positive ones. NBA veteran David West voiced his displeasure with the hiring.
The 15-year veteran told The Athletic that observing how poorly Thibs managed the locker room turmoil in Minnesota during his three-year stint as head coach led to his belief that Thibodeau is not the right man for the job in New York. West was with the Warriors in 2017.
“We went to China with that crew (in 2017) and played two games against them, and it’s like, ‘Yo.’ The guys weren’t responding, and I’m like, ‘Man, this is preseason. We ain’t even got to the league yet, and these guys aren’t responding.’”
“The Knicks job I think is a big job regardless the state of the franchise,” West later added. “It’s still the Knicks. I just thought they could have gone in a different direction. And brought in somebody young who could probably relate to the players better.”
Opinions on Thibodeau’s hire, however, are not one-sided, as Hall of Famer Reggie Miller commented on the benefits of the head coach’s tactics. Miller, who played in the rough-and-tumble NBA of the ’90s, believes that Thibodeau’s hard-nosed and relentless style is actually a good thing.
Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic tweeted Miller’s praise of the Knicks hiring: “People talk about practice is going to be so demanding, he’s going to ride you at shootaround — THIS IS YOUR JOB. THIS IS YOUR JOB. HE’S ASKING, WHAT, HE’S ASKING TO PLAY HARD. That’s your job! To me it was a great hire.”
The common thread between these two opinions is the question of how Thibodeau’s coaching style will mesh with the younger Knicks rotation. There’s no denying that Thibodeau is as tough as they come, but what remains to be seen is how the roster will handle a drastic change in the locker room atmosphere.
As we saw during his tenure with the Chicago Bulls, there are players who absolutely love to play for Thibs. But on the other hand, his style didn’t mesh with some of the guys on the Minnesota Timberwolves.