Tom Thibodeau has high praise for Knicks’ defense
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau is widely known as one of the foremost defensive gurus in the NBA. He led the Boston Celtics to a title in 2008 with his defensive schemes, and continued that as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls.
Now he coaches the Timberwolves, who play the New York Knicks tonight. Before the game, Thibodeau had some hefty praise for the Knicks and their defensive play this season, per Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Kind words on Knicks from defensive guru Tom Thibodeau, who never got a Phil dinner “Their defense is vastly improved, great length. Their rebounding is terrific. In my eyes, they have a very dangerous team.’’
— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) January 12, 2018
These are strong words from Thibodeau about any team, let alone the 10th place Knicks. When Thibodeau, a genius when it comes to NBA defense, compliments a team on that end of the floor, it’s significant.
The Knicks enter the game against the Timberwolves at No. 15 in the NBA in defensive rating, allowing 105.3 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com. More telling, the Knicks are fourth in the NBA in defended field goal percentage, allowing just 44.3 percent shooting of opponents, per NBA.com.
So Thibodeau is definitely onto something when he’s talking about the defense of the Knicks. While New York’s defensive rating is middle of the road, they are in the top five in one of the stats that matters most to teams, and that’s how well opponents shoots against them.
The Knicks have lots of young, athletic players who have length and size, and they’re still growing. There’s no reason why the Knicks can’t be a formidable defense moving forward as they grow together as a team. Once they do that, they will be a playoff team.