Ahead of his first season as New York's head coach, Tom Thibodeau has identified what sets the Knicks apart from the rest.
The Knicks' roster does not have a single player in his 30s. With an average age of 24.1 years, the Knicks are the fourth-youngest team in the NBA behind the Minnesota Timberwolves (23.6), Charlotte Hornets (24), and Memphis Grizzlies (24). While this may seem like a liability, Thibodeau intends to use his players' youth and athleticism to make up for their relative inexperience.
“One of the strengths of our club we are young and we are athletic. I want to take advantage of that. Obviously when you have older guys, the strengths they have — they have the tricks of the trade down pat,” Thibodeau said, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “When you’re younger hopefully you can take advantage of your legs and athleticism.”
The Knicks' roster is headlined by young guns RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr., and eighth overall pick Obi Toppin. This array of players to choose from seems to have given Thibs an enviable problem: he hasn't sketched out a starting five.
“I haven’t settled on a starting rotation,” Thibodeau said. “I think everything’s up for grabs. Starting, finishing, rotation, so I think we’ll get those answers as we go. And if you start off and you’re not in the rotation, what I’ve found over the years is everyone will get an opportunity to be in the rotation, so you just have to be ready, but we’ll make those decisions based off performance and what fits the team the best.”
The last time the Knicks made the playoffs was in the 2012-13 season. With the hiring of Thibodeau, Knicks fans expect the team to return back to its glory days. Or at least play some decent basketball.
It's definitely been quite a while.