The New York Knicks are a team which is on the verge of being in shambles. Inspired play from Carmelo Anthony and rookie Kristaps Prozingis have kept the Knicks from becoming irrelevant. And with the help of a few timely contributions, the New York Knicks seemed to be a contender for the NBA Playoffs. What has taken place is an ill-timed six-game losing streak, where the firing of head coach Derek Fisher (courtesy of ESPN) took place sandwiched between the piled up losses. Fisher lasted five games into the losing streak before he was canned. His ouster has left the New York Knicks in a temporary flux.
Assistant coach Kurt Rambis has been tabbed to take over as the interim head coach until an actual successor is named.
Of all of the available head coaches, two names stand out as quality candidates for the New York Knicks vacancy, provided that Knicks’ president Phil Jackson decides to look outside of the organization to hire a new coach. On the top of any team’s head coaching wishlist should be Golden State Warriors’ assistant Luke Walton and former Chicago Bulls boss Tom Thibodeau.
Walton could be hired after the Warriors are done in the playoffs. Tom Thibodeau could be hired today. The urgency in which the Knicks want to fill the position will determine the direction that they take. If they believe that they could still make the NBA Playoffs, and there are no signs of the opposite, Tom Thibodeau is the best coach available.
There is a report by the Chicago Sun-Times that Thibodeau is the favorite to land the New York Knicks’ post.
Whether the report comes to fruition remains to be seen. There are rumbling in the New York Knicks’ organization that Phil Jackson wants his head coach to employ his philosophy of the triangle offense. If there is any truth to that rumor, this will eliminate Tom Thibodeau from consideration. Though if the plan is to bring in an established coach, known for getting his teams to buy into his program and work hard, Jackson will go against the rumors.
It has also been widely reported that Knicks’ owner James Dolan will be deeply involved in the hiring of a new basketball leader. According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, Phil Jackson assures that the decision on firing Derek Fisher and hiring the next coach is his choice. Jackson also admitted to failure on his first-ever coaching hiring, without uttering the word. Hiring Tom Thibodeau, getting him before the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are reportedly intrigued as well, would rate as a success for the New York Knicks.
Hiring Tom Thibodeau to coach the Knicks would go well over with perennial All-Star Carmelo Anthony. Anthony was stunned by the news of the Derek Fisher firing.
“I don’t know if it was a quick decision, or it was lingering. Not even trying to figure that part out. But everybody found out, the players, around the same time yesterday morning.”
Anthony admitted to not allowing the coaching change effect him. Whoever the New York Knicks bring on board will be the sixth coach that Carmelo Anthony has played for in his five seasons with the team. That includes Kurt Rambis, who no one expects to get a look at having the interim tag removed from his current title.
“You become, I don’t wanna say numb to it, but you understand that it’s part of the business. This is the bad part of the business. But these things happen.”
Hiring Tom Thibodeau would eliminate the cavalcade of coaches who has led Anthony. Thibodeau offers stability and a respected voice. Under his leadership, the Chicago Bulls were always among the league leaders in defense and rebounding. Those are the areas which hurt the Knicks the most.
Since January 1st, the New York Knicks are 8-13. Of those 13 defeats, their opponents reached the 100-point plateau 12 times.
Also, despite ranking 13th in the NBA in rebounding, the Knicks are not beating opposing teams on the glass. In fact, they are even with their opposition with 2,416 boards. Defensive concepts, rebounding footwork and overall hustle is what has gone lacking under the guise of Derek Fisher. These are Tom Thibodeau’s specialties.
For the New York Knicks to become players on the free agent market this offseason, they will have to have a coach in place that players will want to play for, While money and the thrill of playing in New York is a good sell, the last free agent of significance, no slight to Arron Afflalo or Robin Lopez, to sign there is Amar’e Stoudemire. Stoudemire signed there in 2010.
Since the money and locale have not been enough to lure top-level players, having a coach in place with the respectability has to be added to the mix. Tom Thibodeau is an assistant coach for the Men’s Olympic team. A couple of pending free agents will be playing on that team, giving him some time to showcase himself as a potential coach.
The New York Knicks are on the verge of becoming a team in shambles. Firing Derek Fisher was not a shocking move as the team was going in the wrong direction. Hiring Tom Thibodeau would be in the best interest of the Knicks going forward.
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