SPANISH HARLEM – It sucks to be a New York Knicks fan, just another add to the Sh!t List in these disappointing times. Not only does James Dolan send a email to his staff regarding his non-statement during the #GeorgeFloyd protests against police brutality, he finally issues one that doesn’t mention the #blacklivesmatter movement. The media will tell you how he was influential in the hiring of minority and black people to positions of power within the Knicks, yet Dolan has still found ways to alienate and shame the fans further. Okay, I’m done moaning. Let’s move on to today’s topic.
Who Will Coach The New York Knicks Next?
As much as I dislike the owner of my favorite basketball team, I keep rooting for them because players represent my city, not Dolan. With the season now over – no invite to Disneyland – we can look to what the future holds. Leon Rose, as team president, will now interview coaches to see who will lead this team for the foreseeable future. Some familiar names have come up but I have favorites and one wild card.
TOM THIBODEAU ( The Favorite)
No coach has seen more articles written about him in the New York papers than this man. His connection to Leon Rose has makes him the guy to beat but it won’t just be their friendship that makes him the best man for the job. With a coaching record of 598-352, Thibbs will be the most-qualified candidate the Knicks could hire since Larry Brown. Everyone will remember his Chicago teams and how competitive they were. Their defense was acknowledged as one of the best in the league during his time there. Many believed if not for the Derek Rose injury, that team could of won a championship.
Thibodeau was also a assistant coach on the Knicks for 7 seasons, so he wouldn’t be someone that’s new to the pressure or the bright lights of the city. His reputation took a hit during his time with the Minnesota Timberwolves, as someone who played his best players too many minutes and couldn’t relate to younger players. One in particular was Karl-Anthony Towns. I always liked Thibbs as a head coach and would consider him the best candidate but I have him 1B to the next person on my list.
KENNY ATKINSON (My Favorite)
My favorite to be the head coach of the Knicks, was fired by the
New Jersey Brooklyn Nets season. Why hire a guy that was just fired? Legit question. You simply can’t deny the fact that he was a main reason the Nets were able to turn their organization around – that’s why. He made them contenders in the East, regardless of their record this season. One of this best attributes is he development of players that were not well-known in the draft. His teams play defense and compete hard on the court. What more can you ask for? Apparently he was fired because Kyrie Irving had a problem with his play-calling and for not allowing his point guard to play as freely as he would want. Stars can make or break a head coach and with so much money invested in Irving and Kevin Durant, the organization decided to move forward without Atkinson at the helm.
Like Thibodeau, Kenny (we’re pals now) also was an assistant coach on the Knicks and is seen as someone that can develop young players. Guess what team needs help in the development department? YUP, THE KNICKS.
JOHN CALIPARI (The Wild Card)
No matter how many times John Calipari says that he is staying at the Kentucky, his name is floated around due to his friendship with the well-connected Leon Rose. I don’t expect this to happen but what can I say, the Knicks have found ways, good and bad, to surprise me. His ability to recruit some of the best high school players in America has people believing that he might be the perfect choice to lead a young team. Calipari is well-respected by former players and no college coach has had as many high draft picks during his era at Kentucky. He could be a person that translates well to a young team, as the Knicks are – and will be next season.
BUT… Calipari didn’t exactly overwhelm people when he was a head coach in the NBA (Nets – are these two teams joined at the hips?) before going back to the college game. There is no denying, though, how much influence he has with the young players who played for him. His second chance could be his best chance to redeem himself in the eyes of those that have said he was great college but couldn’t cut in the NBA. The Knicks aren’t even close to contending but if he can work some magic and bring excitement back to the city, most importantly win, he could prove those doubters wrong.
Speaking of proving doubters wrong, come back for Different Matt tomorrow.