From Alex Smith:
The Knicks have gone into the last few NBA offseasons with their hopes set on bringing a big-name to Star to New York.
Unfortunately, though, bringing that big star to the Big Apple just hasn’t yet materialized.
Still, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said on Tuesday that he knows the importance of having star-power in the NBA, and he believes there are a few different ways teams can add a star, including through player development, as Thibodeau himself saw a player taken 30th overall in the draft evolve into a game-changing talent.
“I think it’s critical,” Thibodeau said. “When you look at every team in the league, particularly the playoff teams, and there’s a lot of different paths to getting stars.
“Sometimes it’s the development phase that, I think when you look at Jimmy Butler when he came in he hardly played as a rookie, played more each year, and he’s become a top-10 player in the league. So, it’s a testament to his work ethic and how he approached things.”
The Knicks, of course, have a crop of young players that the team is hopeful can eventually grow into that elite level, including RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Mitchell Robinson, among some other younger players.
Developing a star can take time, though, and Knicks fans aren’t typically the most patient group, given the team’s struggles over the last two decades. On the other side of that coin, the Knicks have been giving themselves a lot of cap flexibility via short-term deals, paving the way for one or two potential superstars to eventually sign with the Knicks in the long term.
There are different ways to acquire stars in the NBA, but Thibodeau knows that teams can’t just sit around and wait when opportunities arise.
“Some guys continue to get better year after year. Sometimes you have to do it through trades, sometimes it’s free agency, but I think you have to be very aggressive in seeking out those opportunities,” Thibodeau said. “They just don’t happen by accident. You have to make them happen.”
It’s basically meaningless, but hey, it’s a new thread.