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Tom Thibodeau takes a stand on raw Knicks roster ‘earning’ playing time, making ‘sacrifices’

Tom Thibodeau, Knicks

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau is bringing his usual, hard-nosed approach to the Big Apple ahead of his first training camp with the organization.

Thibodeau said during the team’s media session that none of the players should take anything for granted or expect to get minutes based on past performance:

“Nothing will be given to anyone. You’re going to have to earn your minutes,” Tom Thibodeau said of the Knicks, via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “Those decisions on rotation will be based on performance and what gives the team the best chance of winning. A player is not going to get minutes just to get minutes. You have to impact winning, you have to put the team first. There has to be sacrifices made. And that’s what we’re going to strive toward each and every day.”

This seems like the only approach, given how New York’s offseason went.

The Knicks struck out on essentially all of their top targets. Chris Paul did not want to leave the West Coast and ended up with the Phoenix Suns. Russell Westbrook might not be going anywhere as the Houston Rockets wait things out, and possible free-agent target Fred VanVleet quickly re-signed with the Toronto Raptors.

As such, the Knicks will rely mostly on internal improvement from youngsters like R.J. Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox, each of whom will have to take big strides to prove they are worthy of being building blocks.

There have been questions as to Thibodeau’s ability to relate to young players. But inspiring a sense of competition could be the best route for a New York team desperate to make strides in any capacity.