‘MVP Type Season’: Knicks’ Head Coach Reveals the Reason Behind the Franchise’s Turnaround

Published 05/04/2021, 11:49 PM EDT
Jan 22, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) reacts after making a basket while being fouled against the Sacramento Kings in the fourth quarter at the Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


Last season, the Miami Heat came up as a #5 regular-season seed to play the NBA Finals which no one saw coming. This year, the Knicks are approaching an even greater turn of events. The NY-based team is #4 in the EC and is very close to clinching that playoff berth, which they have failed to reserve for the past seven years.

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A lot of the credit for the Knicks’ meteoric success goes to their head coach Tom Thibodeau. A highly experienced name in the coaching fraternity, Tom joined the Knicks only recently and has turned the tides to help the franchise.

Tom Thibodeau reveals what led to the Knicks’ success

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The Knicks have been 12-1 in the last 13 games, making the side hot property all over again. Since most NY fans relate more to the Knicks than to the Nets, it is great that the Knicks have finally gotten their act together and given the city what it deserves. 

Speaking to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, coach Tom Thibodeau outlined what led to this transition. The 63-YO expressed, “Looking at the players we had, I knew we’d have to first make a commitment to play for each other, to work hard, play smart, and to build the right habits… You can’t say enough about what Julius Randle has done. He has had an MVP-type season, just the impact on winning, his leadership. Then we have a number of other players step up… RJ Barrett having a terrific season.”

Lakers’ Andre Drummond against Knicks’ Julius Randle at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

He also praised the team owner James Dolan and thanked the senior management for putting the right pieces together. The former Chicago Bulls head coach has driven a sense of teamwork in the Knicks and that shows up on the court every night.

Read also – American Actress Surprised With LeBron James Rejecting NY Knicks Despite Sopranos Reboot

What else has worked for the NY-based team?

The coach explained how the team has become better defensively. He said:

I saw the commitment by our players in the practice, how they were playing around. So as the ball, paint [indiscernible] cover the line. So even though the shots, the so-called experts were charting, you don’t know who is doing the charting. You don’t know how quickly those closeouts are occurring. But I saw the way we were challenging shots and the way we can make up ground quickly, and I felt like we would be good defensively. We became a multiple effort team, the guys were tight together.”

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Surprisingly, four of the NY Knicks starting five are playing in only their second season for the team. Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Reggie Bullock, and Elfrid Payton had played together for just one year when Tom took over. Plus, star center Nerlens Noel and veteran Derrick Rose only joined this year. So it is surprising how Tom tuned them together so well that they look like age-old buddies on the court.

Add Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks into the mix, and the roster has a very fine depth to play around. RJ Barrett is turning out to be a great wing player, who is getting better with every game. Reggie Bullock, even after coming from a rough season, has improved under the leadership of Julius Randle. It seems like the coming together of various growing pieces to make a team with a convincing present and an even brighter future.

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Sourabh Singh

1414 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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