NBA coach raves about Knicks candidate Tom Thibodeau

NBA coach raves about Knicks candidate Tom Thibodeau

There was a notion of Tom Thibodeau soon after he was fired by the Timberwolves in 2019 that he was a brusque taskmaster who doesn’t connect very well to a new era of younger players.

That graphic bothers Magic head mentor Steve Clifford.

Clifford and Thibodeau have been each on Jeff Van Gundy’s staffs with the Knicks and Rockets — functioning alongside one another for all but one particular year from 2000-07. Clifford states he has uncovered a whole lot about player relations from Thibodeau, considered the lead prospect for the Knicks head work.

Clifford thinks aspect of the perception is Thibodeau’s fiery demeanor on the sidelines.

“The misconception is how personable he is,’’ Clifford advised The Put up from Orlando, Fla., where by he is gearing up for the NBA’s restart. “Guys enjoy him. It’s not heading to be every solitary participant, but his romance with gamers is a strength.

“The most important point he served me with was participant growth,’’ Clifford included. “If you go back again to Larry Johnson, [Latrell Sprewell], Allan [Houston], Marcus [Camby], he experienced a shut doing work romantic relationship with all people men. In Houston, it was Tracy [McGrady], Yao [Ming].’’

Steve Clifford and Tom ThibodeauAP, Getty Photographs

Having fired by the Timberwolves in Jan. 2019 and a contentious romance with Bulls management cast some doubt on Thibodeau regardless of a sound career record of 352-246 (.589). He has also been in successful franchises with the Knicks, Houston as nicely as Boston the place he was leading assistant to Doc Rivers.

“His good energy is his relationship with gamers,’’ Clifford mentioned. “He’s a teacher. He is aware how to converse proficiently with gamers of all different personalities and he connects. He did it as an assistant and head coach. The thing he did that not a lot of coaches can do is he worked with guys at just about every posture. [Point guard Charlie] Ward, centers, forwards.’’

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If Thibodeau had concerns with Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Cities, Clifford details out accomplishment with Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng when they had been younger.

“If you look just about everywhere he’s been, the teams he’s been involved with get,’’ Clifford stated. “All gamers want, they want the most effective probability to gain. Seem at Chicago, the turnaround there, and then Minnesota in which it was 14 years since they created the playoffs. They want a dedicated mentor who’s heading to thrust them, make them superior, and have the finest chance to get with. He’s all of those items.”

Just one other sore level for Clifford is that Thibodeau was categorised only as a defensive coach. Not that there’s just about anything completely wrong with that, particularly thinking of the Knicks defense has lagged for years.

Interim mentor Mike Miller gave the Knicks’ defense much more framework. Even though a longshot, Miller is however being regarded as for the permanent position. At the least, Miller is anticipated to continue being on the workers of the new mentor.

“I feel he’s labeled quite a great deal as a defensive mentor and still coaching against him, he’s a terrific offensive mentor,’’ Clifford explained. “Teams in Chicago and Minnesota, the numbers bear that out. Is he terrific defensive coach? There’s no greater defensive head than Tom. But he’s also a wonderful offensive coach.’’

With the Nets and Houston — Brooklyn will be on the lookout for a mentor and the Rockets may possibly transfer on from Mike D’Antoni — concerned in up coming month’s restart, the Knicks have to start with crack at Thibodeau, who likely is better suited for a much more-completely ready roster. But Leon Rose’s presidency could be the trump card. Thibodeau is a shopper of Resourceful Artists Company and knows Rose from there.

That’s necessary considering Thibodeau and former Bulls GM John Paxson reportedly feuded and the New Britain, Conn., products did not see eye to eye with Minnesota CEO Ethan Casson possibly.

“The capacity to have a consolation degree and get the job done with administration is wherever every thing starts off,’’ Clifford explained. “Their friendship and operating with each other ahead of is a major as well as.”

“He’s from Connecticut, but extra than everything he labored [with the Knicks] and labored there through a time when there were great expectations and they had deep playoff runs. He was a massive component of the results they experienced. He’s experienced New York and understands the pressures of New York. It’s unique to other places. He appreciates what it talks to get the job done with the media — which is a big part of it. He understands what that job involves.”