One year after returning some feel-good vibes to the Knicks, coach Tom Thibodeau and his team came crashing down.
Once again, the Knicks missed the playoffs in 2021-22, Thibodeau’s second season with the squad. Power forward Julius Randle played worse, the Knicks were wildly inconsistent, and things were back to the way they typically were before Thibodeau arrived in 2020.
Could Thibodeau be on the hot seat in 2022-23?
Well, yes, he could. That doesn’t mean he is. It just means the Knicks will need to find a way to be better than most people expect. Otherwise, it could be Thibodeau who is on the way out, explained Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News on the HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto.
“I think the baseline should be an improvement from last season,” Bondy said. “Randle can’t play worse. They played a lot better towards the end of last season after the All-Star break. Some of that was the young guys playing.
“If they’re struggling like they did last season, I think Tom Thibodeau’s in trouble. It’s always the coach that’s the first one to go.”
Thibodeau, 64, is 78-76 in his two seasons in New York. He has also coached the Bulls and Timberwolves.
“How did it break down? There are conflicting views about that. From my understanding, the Jazz were really heavy on the unprotected picks,” Bondy said. “That’s what they wanted. The Knicks and Jazz were really close. They thought they were going to get a deal done. They were at the two-yard line, and they were haggling over protections over picks.”