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


Judging by Tom Thibodeau’s remarks Thursday, the Knicks’ coverage on utilizing their G-League Westchester Knicks might shift.

Throughout his Zoom introductory name, Thibodeau stated if a younger prospect isn’t getting enough enjoying time, there could also be motive to discover sending him to the G-League.

“I believe game-time is necessary,’’ Thibodeau stated. “So if a younger participant will not be getting the suitable period of time to develop, we’ll make the most of the G-League. That’s turn out to be an necessary a part of our league. We’ll definitely make the most of that.’’

There was an irony to Thibodeau’s assertion. The concept of utilizing the G-League Knicks to offer huge minutes to lottery picks akin to Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina grew to become the basis of a debate between Craig Robinson, the group’s former vp of participant growth/G-League operations, and Knicks GM Scott Perry, The Publish has realized.

Robinson, brother of former First Woman Michelle Obama, left the Knicks in mid-July to turn out to be the top of the Nationwide Affiliation of Basketball Coaches. Robinson’s contract was to run out in August and he was not anticipated to return underneath the brand new regime. Robinson and ousted president Steve Mills have been former Princeton teammates and shut pals.

Tom Thibodeau
Tom ThibodeauAP

In response to an NBA supply accustomed to the state of affairs, Robinson lobbied to have the Knicks’ high prospects who weren’t getting sufficient NBA time to spend a couple of video games — or weeks — within the G-League to realize rhythm and develop confidence.

Perry rejected the notion, feeling it could be perceived as too huge a demotion and felt follow time in addition to being round NBA coaches was extra important, in accordance with a supply. Robinson’s counter was that through the NBA season, follow time and scrimmages are restricted.

There have been loads of alternatives for Smith, Ntilikina and Knox to play for Westchester. Robinson felt that will be a wholesome facet of their growth, in accordance with the supply.

In 2019-20, Smith noticed two huge layoffs. In October, he left the membership for 3 weeks after his stepmother handed away. That was adopted by sitting out greater than a month with an indirect harm. Smith was additionally out and in of the rotation upon his return and his season was a multitude.

Ntilikina, too, has not all the time been a key fixture within the rotation in his first three seasons. As well as, Knox, confronted with restricted enjoying time in his second season, struggled massively with a demotion to the bench.

These three mixed to play zero video games within the G-League — which can or might not have stunted their development.

Robinson had pushed for Courtney Lee and Joakim Noah to make rehab appearances in Westchester. That was authorised by Perry. As well as, second-round picks, Damyean Dotson and Ignas Brazdeikis, noticed their share of G-League motion. Brazdeikis performed 24 video games for Westchester as a rookie.

This obvious change in philosophy — if adopted — might have a big influence in 2020-21. The Knicks have three picks within the high 37, their very own lottery decide, the Clippers’ first-rounder and Charlotte’s second-round decide.

Thibodeau has a observe report of not overplaying his rookies. So theoretically, Westchester may very well be an occasional touchdown spot to attempt to pace up their participant growth.

It’s unclear if Robinson’s place will probably be stuffed by group president Leon Rose. In accordance a league supply, the franchise would possibly need extra of an on-court participant growth coach than Robinson was.

Robinson had extra of an government position as Mills designed it three years in the past and the previous Oregon State coach didn’t do on-court work with the gamers.

Nevertheless, Robinson was recognized to take out a variety of the gamers to dinner on the highway to instill belief, goodwill and get to know them higher. Maybe that was what he was referring to when he talked concerning the “particular sauce’’ the franchise was utilizing in its participant growth.

The Publish has reported assistant to the GM Allan Houston would tackle extra of an on-court player-developmental position and that Rod Strickland has been thought-about for a G-League/participant growth position.

Thibodeau made reference to the state of affairs when requested his view of participant growth. Houston performed for the Knicks when Thibodeau was the highest assistant. Thibodeau was not requested particularly about Robinson’s departure.

“In some circumstances the participant growth guys are the fellows you get out on the ground,’’ Thibodeau stated. “When you’ve got some older gamers in your roster, you are likely to go together with extra participant growth guys so the youthful guys can get the work they want [if they’re not playing]. However I believe we’ll have a look at our roster. We’ve got a really younger group. We’ve got to prioritize that.”

Perry, who was on the Zoom name, harassed participant growth as part of Thibodeau’s new employees.

“Based mostly on the conversations that we’ve had, this employees will probably be numerous and really robust in all areas, particularly in participant growth,’’ Perry stated.

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