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Getting blown out by the Nets on Wednesday means the Knicks and Tom Thibodeau are learning a harsh lesson: If it’s not the talent, it’s the coaching.

We won’t recap the game too much. Kevin Durant’s triple-double carried shorthanded Brooklyn to a 112-85 win. Jacque Vaughn being promoted to full-time head coach clearly had that much effect amongst the rest of the Kyrie Irving/Ime Udoka soap opera. Brooklyn literally came out shooting and made 48.3% of their shots, including 41.2% from three.

The lifeless Knicks never had a chance. Thibodeau could only look on as his team continued to struggle again. New York shot 32.2% on the night and made less than 28% of its threes. This after making a big fuss of not only adding Jalen Brunson in free agency, but extending RJ Barrett. Those two have a solid supporting cast even with Mitchell Robinson injured (again).

Again, if it’s not the talent, it’s the coaching.

Let’s call it how it actually is. The 2020-21 Knicks clearly overachieved in their first year under Thibodeau. Sure, they basically played at or about .500 basketball for half the season, but they at least looked competitive. A hot streak at the right time led to 41 wins, a playoff spot, and the No. 4 seed in the East.

It’s all been downhill from there and the Knicks are back to being, well, the Knicks. Thibodeau’s team has clear flaws in three seasons, almost none of which have been addressed. Any and all production disappears the moment an opposing team throws up a zone defense. If one of Julius Randle, Barrett or Brunson struggles, so does the rest of the team.

I really don’t mean to beat the dead horse. If it’s not the talent, it’s the coaching. If you really think about it, Thibodeau has done everything but build this team up since signing a five-year deal in 2020.

And for what? He grew up a Knicks fan in Connecticut and is literally living his dream of coaching them. Yet, he insists on a defense-first system and an offense that has anything but an identity.

Consider this. The Knicks rank 15th in scoring and 21st in team defense, and 13th in opponent three-point percentage (3PT%). Oddly enough, New York is second in opponent field-goal percentage (FG%) in a rare instance of doing something right.

But even so, the Knicks’ own FG% and 3PT% rank 23rd in the league and they’re 17th in turnovers per game. A middling team with middling performances from players fans know can be better on the court.

It’s not the talent, fans. It’s 64-year-old Tom Thibodeau and his coaching.

So where do the Knicks go from here? Leon Rose hasn’t made objectively bad moves, but not even he can wave a magic wand and make the team perform better. To be completely frank, Randle isn’t going to run to get back on defense with or without Thibodeau.

But we’ve seen this happen this season, specifically Wednesday. Sometimes, a simple coaching change is all you need. Forget the Kyrie Irving drama. Brooklyn is 3-2 since Vaughn–the former Orlando coach and otherwise experienced assistant–succeeded Steve Nash.

Who’s to say the Knicks wouldn’t benefit from letting Thibodeau go and, for example, promoting assistant Johnnie Bryant? He’s 37, energetic, and recently turned down the chance to coach his alma mater Utah. Thibodeau has the track record, having won Coach of the Year in New York in ’20-21, but isn’t motivating. Even in games the Knicks win, have we ever seen him actually look happy about it?

Look, at the end of the day, Wednesday’s loss is just one of 82 games. The Knicks will lose more, and they’ll win some too. Wednesday’s forgettable night at the Barclays Center was just particularly bad and the fans will forget about it by next week.

But what we can safely say now is that whatever Thibodeau’s approach is, it isn’t working. There’s absolutely no reason the Knicks should have been blown out that badly by Kevin Durant and the Island of Nets Reserves. New York was fully healthy for the game and at least should have kept it competitive.

They did not and the numbers prove something we’ll say just one last time for these beleaguered Knicks.

If it’s not the talent, then it’s the coaching.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.