Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau is an old-school individual who tells it like it is. Or at least how he sees it. And recently, he let the Knicks’ starters know he hasn’t been real pleased with their performance.
Actually, that’s putting it mildly. As the New York Post headline screamed, Thibodeau “ripped” the starters after Wednesday’s loss to the short-handed Bucks.
The players in the starting lineup, for their part, seem to understand. Per shooting guard Evan Fournier, the message has been received loud and clear.
“I mean, shit, I would be, too,” Fournier told reporters, via Steve Popper of Newsday. “We don’t need Tom to get mad at us. We know we did not play well last game. We’re all veterans. We all know what we’re capable of doing and it doesn’t feel good when we don’t play well.”
Thibodeau also received support from Derrick Rose, the veteran point guard who is sort of like the coach’s right-hand man. Thibodeau coached Rose during his glory days with the Bulls, then again with the Timberwolves, and now with the Knicks.
“We try to ease into games, we try to get a feel instead of being aggressive,” Rose said of the Knicks’ flaws. “A lot of times you have to be the aggressor, let people know you’re there. That’s not only the starting five, that’s the bench coming in playing lackadaisical, like nonchalant.
“We’re not that good to give people confidence. We got to come out and be the hardest-working team. We got to learn soon.”
Entering Friday’s game in Charlotte, the Knicks had won just two of six games after a 5-1 start.
“I see my job as telling the team the truth as I see it,” Thibodeau said. “Looking where we are, there has to be urgency.”