Tom Thibodeau hints at shift in Knicks’ G-League stance

Tom Thibodeau hints at change in Knicks’ G-League stance

Judging by Tom Thibodeau’s remarks Thursday, the Knicks’ policy on making use of their G-League Westchester Knicks could change.

For the duration of his Zoom introductory connect with, Thibodeau claimed if a youthful prospect isn’t having enough playing time, there may possibly be motive to explore sending him to the G-League.

“I consider match-time is vital,’’ Thibodeau explained. “So if a young participant is not obtaining the suitable amount of money of time to create, we’ll use the G-League. That’s grow to be an important element of our league. We’ll absolutely acquire advantage of that.’’

There was an irony to Thibodeau’s statement. The strategy of utilizing the G-League Knicks to give huge minutes to lottery picks these types of as Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina turned the root of a discussion amongst Craig Robinson, the team’s previous vice president of player progress/G-League operations, and Knicks GM Scott Perry, The Article has realized.

Robinson, brother of former Very first Lady Michelle Obama, remaining the Knicks in mid-July to become the head of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Robinson’s contract was to expire in August and he was not envisioned to return under the new routine. Robinson and ousted president Steve Mills had been former Princeton teammates and close good friends.

Tom Thibodeau
Tom ThibodeauAP

In accordance to an NBA resource acquainted with the predicament, Robinson lobbied to have the Knicks’ top prospective buyers who weren’t finding adequate NBA time to shell out a several online games — or months — in the G-League to obtain rhythm and expand self-assurance.

Perry turned down the idea, emotion it would be perceived as way too big a demotion and felt observe time as perfectly as staying all over NBA coaches was extra critical, in accordance to a supply. Robinson’s counter was that in the course of the NBA year, follow time and scrimmages are minimal.

There have been lots of alternatives for Smith, Ntilikina and Knox to play for Westchester. Robinson felt that would be a healthier element of their progress, according to the supply.

In 2019-20, Smith noticed two huge layoffs. In Oct, he still left the club for a few months following his stepmother handed absent. That was followed by sitting out additional than a month with an indirect harm. Smith was also in and out of the rotation on his return and his year turned into a mess.

Ntilikina, as well, has not constantly been a key fixture in the rotation in his to start with a few seasons. In addition, Knox, confronted with limited enjoying time in his second season, struggled massively with a demotion to the bench.

All those three mixed to engage in zero video games in the G-League — which could or may perhaps not have stunted their development.

Robinson had pushed for Courtney Lee and Joakim Noah to make rehab appearances in Westchester. That was accepted by Perry. In addition, next-spherical picks, Damyean Dotson and Ignas Brazdeikis, observed their share of G-League action. Brazdeikis played 24 games for Westchester as a rookie.

This evident alter in philosophy — if adopted — could have a substantial affect in 2020-21. The Knicks have three picks in the leading 37, their own lottery decide on, the Clippers’ initially-rounder and Charlotte’s second-spherical choose.

Thibodeau has a observe document of not overplaying his rookies. So theoretically, Westchester could be an occasional landing spot to attempt to pace up their player enhancement.

It is unclear if Robinson’s position will be crammed by team president Leon Rose. According a league source, the franchise could possibly want extra of an on-court player progress coach than Robinson was.

Robinson experienced a lot more of an govt position as Mills developed it 3 many years back and the previous Oregon Condition mentor did not do on-court do the job with the gamers.

On the other hand, Robinson was identified to consider out a ton of the gamers to meal on the road to instill believe in, goodwill and get to know them better. Most likely that was what he was referring to when he talked about the “special sauce’’ the franchise was using in its player enhancement.

The Publish has documented assistant to the GM Allan Houston would just take on extra of an on-courtroom player-developmental position and that Rod Strickland has been deemed for a G-League/participant growth purpose.

Thibodeau made reference to the situation when asked his view of participant growth. Houston performed for the Knicks when Thibodeau was the prime assistant. Thibodeau was not requested specially about Robinson’s departure.

“In some conditions the player growth men are the fellas you get out on the ground,’’ Thibodeau said. “If you have some more mature gamers on your roster, you tend to go with a lot more player enhancement men so the more youthful guys can get the work they have to have [if they’re not playing]. But I think we’ll seem at our roster. We have a extremely youthful group. We have to prioritize that.”

Perry, who was on the Zoom get in touch with, pressured player progress as a component of Thibodeau’s new staff members.

“Based on the discussions that we’ve had, this employees will be assorted and really solid in all places, specially in participant progress,’’ Perry reported.

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