Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Before we get to Taj Gibson's thoughts on Tom Thibodeau, let's start here: Gibson is a huge fan of Mike Miller. Gibson believes the Knicks interim head coach is thriving under difficult circumstances.
"Coach Mike, being thrown in there, you've got to give him his due (respect) because coming into a situation like this and wheeling and dealing with a bunch of young guys, he's been phenomenal," Gibson said late Wednesday night.
So when Gibson was asked about Thibodeau, he wanted to make sure to credit Miller first. In doing so, he wanted to make it clear that he wasn't suggesting that Miller didn't deserve consideration for the Knicks head coaching job for next season.
For various reasons, it would be surprising if Leon Rose didn't give Thibodeau consideration when he searches for New York's next head coach. (Yes, Rose is still going to be the Knicks' next team president. The player agent is tying up some loose ends with CAA and is expected to officially accept the job in the coming weeks).
Given that, Gibson was asked on Wednesday if he thought Thibodeau could thrive in today's NBA.
Here's what the veteran big man said:
"He can do it. If you want to win, he can do it. If the main goal is about winning and developing guys and pushing guys to the limit, (he can do it). Not everybody is capable of (accepting) the coaching. But it's proof in the pudding. You look at a lot of the guys he's had over the years; a lot of them was hard-nosed and a lot of them give him his due credit.
"But everybody can adjust (their coaching style). I'm sure he's learned from his past stints with Minnesota and just like everybody else, everybody's human (and can adjust). Everybody learns to (by past experience) to have better relationships. And you've got to just bounce with the times.
"I'm sure he'll be capable of it. He's been through a lot. From winning a bit in Minnesota and going through the ups and downs there. Then watching the game now. Being away from the game. He's one of those coaches -- he doesn't leave the gym. He loves coaching, he loves developing guys. But at the same time, you've got to want to get better."
Thibodeau has a reputation as a hard-driving coach. His critics say he wears out players. But those who have thrived under him -- like Gibson -- believe in his methods. And, as Gibson mentioned above, they feel that Thibodeau has adjusted his approach after his stints in Chicago and Minnesota.
"I can't speak on anybody else. From my experience with him, I did a lot of winning," Gibson said. "Even being around the Knicks guys from the past now, they just speak so highly of him, they respect him so much.
"The aspect of (Thibodeau's coaching of) getting you better and wanting you to be better and expecting the utmost from you every day. Not just walking into the gym and being a pro but to leave the gym, knowing that you gave it your all. And you put forth 110 percent. Because he's going to want 110 percent out of you and he's going to challenge you because he wants the best out of you. And I honestly see that every time.
"He's kind of misunderstood because people don't know him. And from the outside world, he doesn't really talk as much. He's starting to learn to talk (more) to people in the outside world. In the locker room, he's a real dude. He's a respectable dude. And he's hard-nosed. But he wants the best for you."
When Gibson referenced ex-Knicks, he's presumably talking about people like Allan Houston and John Starks, both of whom played for the club when Thibodeau was an assistant coach.
As previously noted, it's fair to assume that Jeff Van Gundy and Thibodeau wll get consideration for the Knicks' head coaching job.
It's also worth noting that MSG people are in favor of Miller having a role in the organization next season, regardless of how things play out with the coaching search.
On Van Gundy, it's worth noting that, as we reported at the time, he was open to discussing the opening with the Knicks during their last coaching search. But the organization, under Mills and GM Scott Perry, never gave Van Gundy strong consideration before hiring David Fizdale.
On Thibodeau, Carmelo Anthony said publicly that the Knicks should have considered hiring him in the 2016 offseason. Anthony's agent at the time was Rose. Then-Knicks president Phil Jackson didn't contact Thibodeau, who eventually took a job as team president and head coach with Minnesota.
But for those into connecting the dots, it would stand to reason that Anthony and Rose were on the same page regarding Thibodeau's candidacy for the Knicks job.
Given that, it would be surprising if the Knicks, under Rose, didn't give Van Gundy and Thibodeau consideration for the head-coaching job time around.
Harris will be key for Philly after AS break
Tobias Harris wasn't named an All Star reserve for the East, but he'll certainly be an integral part of Philadelphia's playoff push after the All Star break. The New York native is matching or exceeding his career numbers in nearly all statistical categories. The Sixers, based on net rating, are two points better when he's on the floor.
Harris, in the first year of a max contract with Philadelphia, has proved durable for Brett Brown & Co. He's played in all of Philadelphia's 55 games. The 27-year-old is also known league-wide as a consummate professional. The Sixers as a group have played below expectations, so they'll need Harris' leadership in the second half of the year.