With Tom Thibodeau as their new head coach, the New York Knicks are entering a new era, one they will hope leads to more success than they have experienced for most of the past two decades. They haven't reached the playoffs since 2013, and they have only won one postseason series since 2000.
Thibodeau has had no trouble getting his teams into the playoffs. He led the Chicago Bulls to the postseason in each of his five seasons with the team from 2010-15, and he got the Minnesota Timberwolves to the playoffs in his second season with the team.
However, according to The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov, there's been some mixed reaction from around the league regarding Thibodeau's appointment in New York.
"The reaction from scouts, execs and agents around the league surveyed about this hire has generally fallen into two camps," Vorkunov wrote. "Mostly, all complimented Thibodeau as a coach and as a tactician. They think he'll improve the Knicks now. Some also took the long view that it may start out well and end up badly over time."
In Thibodeau's first season in Chicago, he led the Bulls to 62 regular-season wins and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. He went 31-51 in his first season in Minnesota in 2016-17, but he helped it win 16 more games the following year and end a 13-year playoff drought.
So it's clear why some would believe Thibodeau will get results from the Knicks early. And a large factor in whether that happens could be what New York's roster looks like at the start of the 2020-21 season. It has some talented young players, such as RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, but it will surely make some moves during the offseason.
Since Mike Woodson led the Knicks to the playoffs in 2012-13, they have had five head coaches: Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, Jeff Hornacek, David Fizdale and Mike Miller. How much time will Thibodeau get if he doesn't produce quick results?
Differing Opinions on G League Decisions
Although Thibodeau hasn't been the Knicks' head coach for long, he's made it clear that he would have interest in sending young players to the G League to get playing time and experience.
"If a young player is not getting the appropriate amount of time to develop, we'll utilize the G League," Thibodeau recently said, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. "That's become an important part of our league. We'll certainly take advantage of that."
But apparently, New York's front office hasn't always felt that way about sending players to its G League affiliate in Westchester.
Berman reported that former Knicks vice president of player development Craig Robinson "lobbied" to have some of New York's young players spend some time in the G League to "gain rhythm and grow confidence." However, general manager Scott Perry rejected it, wanting those players to have practice time around NBA coaches.
"There were plenty of opportunities for [Dennis] Smith, [Frank] Ntilikina and [Kevin] Knox to play for Westchester," Berman wrote. "Robinson felt that would be a healthy aspect of their development, according to the source."
Perry is still the Knicks GM, but they have since added president Leon Rose to their front office. And with Thibodeau expressing interest in making such moves, perhaps New York will be more open to sending young prospects to the G League.