New York Knicks: Tom Thibodeau deserves the blame for disappointing season

New York Knicks huddle (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
New York Knicks huddle (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

As the New York Knicks continue their downward spiral, is Tom Thibodeau the one to blame?

The New York Knicks are in trouble. After a surprising season last year in which they finished as the 4seed in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks find themselves in 12th place with a record of 25-33.

Many people have blamed Julius Randle’s inconsistent and disappointing play for the Knicks’ current position, but if you watch the games more closely, you’ll realize that the problem runs deeper than that.

After being named the league’s Coach of the Year last season, Tom Thibodeau is running the Knicks into the ground. Similar to his days in Chicago, Thibodeau relies on his starters to play big minutes. This leads to the Knicks’ best players being exhausted at the end of the game leading to low-scoring 4th quarters.

The Knicks currently rank second-to-last in the league in 4th quarter scoring and second-to-last in total scoring in the league. Now, this could be forgiven if the Knicks were playing defense, but that’s simply not the case. The Knicks have been a mediocre team on the defensive end of the floor and are no longer the defensive unit they were last season.

RJ Barrett was recently hurt in a blowout against the Denver Nuggets. Barrett was left in the game with just seconds left on the clock while down double-digits. When asked about the decision to leave Barrett in the game, Thibodeau’s response was “we wanted to see if we could make a run.”

This isn’t the first time an injury came cause of Thibodeau’s carelessness. During the 2012 playoffs, Thibodeau left star point guard Derrick Rose in the game with a little over a minute to go up 12. Many would argue Rose shouldn’t have even been in and most people will point to this injury as the downfall of the former MVP’s career.

Thibodeau’s stubbornness has led to tension between him and the front office as well. Back in January, the Knicks traded Kevin Knox and a 2022 first-round pick via Charlotte for Barrett’s former Duke teammate Cam Reddish. This was seen as a complete steal for the Knicks as Reddish has shown flashes of stardom when he’s given consistent minutes.

Despite trading a first-rounder for him, Thibodeau (reportedly) wasn’t a big fan of the move and has refused to play him big minutes like the front office likely were expecting.

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Julius Randle has been Knicks fans’ scapegoat this season, but I beg them to look at the bigger picture. Thibodeau is on the hot seat and may just find himself out of the job come this offseason.