CBS Sports: Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau says team will prioritize ‘shooting and our offense’ in offseason

From Jack Maloney:

Thibodeau’s full comments:

“It’s something that we talked about going into the season. We wanted to build our foundation, starting with our defense of course, and adding to our shooting and our offense. We’re always looking to add that shooting. And it’s not only just shooting the three, it’s going off the dribble as well. And also continuing to add defensive players. It’s an all around game and to have success in the playoffs you have to be strong on both sides of the ball, so that’s what we’re striving towards.”

Thibodeau was asked specifically about draft prospects — the Knicks have two first-round picks at Nos. 19 and 21, as well as an early second-round pick at No. 32 — but those qualities apply to any player the Knicks will be after this offseason, whether through trades or free agency.

Last season the Knicks actually finished tied for second in the league in 3-point percentage at 39.2 percent. The bigger problem was that they just didn’t have enough outside threats. Only five players put up more than 100 3s, and Reggie Bullock and Julius Randle accounted for 36.3 percent of their 3-point attempts. Come playoff time, it’s just too easy for opponents when they know they can ignore half of your players on the perimeter.

As Thibodeau noted, it’s not just the shooting, though. Yes, that’s important, but adding a bunch of spot-up shooters will only get you so far. You also need players who can break down the defense and create those open shots. Randle was responsible for creating so much of the Knicks’ offense that when the Hawks loaded up and shut him down, the Knicks didn’t have many counters.

Nice to hear from Thibs. The draft is a good place to do that sort of thing.

As part of our all-poll content, here’s a good one…

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If They Required Multi-Year Market Rate Deals to Resign Them, Which Knick Free Agents Would You Bring Back?

Okay, I’ll do more salary cap stuff when it is closer to the actual free agency period, but as part of our all-poll content (and because we really need a new thread), I’ll just do a bare bones look at the Knicks’ four main free agents (assuming Elfrid Payton is clearly gone and that Taj is re-signable to either a vet minimum deal or a slight raise over his current deal which the Knicks are allowed to do as a sort of super mini form of Bird Rights).

So presuming that these four players could be brought back on roughly $13 million for Derrick Rose and $9-10 million for Bullock, Burks and Noel, who would you sign, provided that the deal would have to be longer than one season, thus cutting into cap room next season.

Derrick Rose

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Reggie Bullock

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Alec Burks

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Nerlens Noel

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Congrats to Immanuel Quickley For Making the All-Rookie Second Team!

Here is the voting.

It’s weird, we just had Thibs pull out of a Coach of the Year Award despite not having the most first place votes (the first time that that has ever happened), we’ve had Julius Randle somehow be named to the All-NBA Second Team!, which is just remarkable and Derrick Rose even received a first place vote for MVP (a fan-vote, so perhaps it was a trolling thing, but still)…and then Immanuel Quickley…doesn’t even make the first team of the All-Rookie Team?

What in the what?

Don’t get me wrong, first team All-Rookie is fairly meaningless for future production, but how could anyone see Quickley’s rookie season and not say that he had one of the five best seasons by a rookie? How? It’s mind-boggling. It just doesn’t make any sense.

But whatever, congrats on making the second team, IQ! In just the last five years, that’s company shared with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Mitchell Robinson, John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Jamal Murray and Jaylen Brown. RJ Barrett infamously didn’t even make the All-Rookie team in his rookie season!

Here’s a trivia question – the 2015-16 NBA All-Rookie Second Team is the most recent All-Rookie team to have a player who is now out of the NBA based on no team wanting him (You’d have to go back to 2012-13 and Dion Waiters for the first first team All-Rookie player who is no longer in the NBA because no one wants him. Mirotic is out of the league, too, from 2014-15, but that’s his choice). Who is it?

Also, as part of our all-poll content…

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Congrats to Julius Randle on Making Second Team All-NBA

Julius Randle has now made it as high, All-NBA-wise, as Carmelo Anthony, James Worthy, Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, Vince Carter, Tony Parker, Blake Griffin, Yao Ming, Pau Gasol, Alex English, Dave Cowens, Paul George, Dennis Rodman, Kevin Johnson, Al Horford, Dikembe Mutombo and Joe Dumars.

That’s very impressive. I don’t think I’d vote for Julius Randle as one of the four best forwards in the NBA in the 2020-21 season, but maybe top six! But hey, if the voters want to go for him, that’s awesome! Good for Randle!

Congratulations, Julius!

Here are the three teams.

First: Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard

Second: Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, LeBron James

Third: Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Rudy Gobert, Jimmy Butler, Paul George

Should Frank Ntilikina Still Be a Knick Next Season?

Frank Ntilikina has an $8.3 qualifying offer if the Knicks want to make him a restricted free agent. He has a cap hold of $18 million, but obviously that doesn’t matter since the qualifying offer is so much lower and obviously higher than he would get on the open market, so he’d just take the qualifying offer if the Knicks made it, which they likely will not.

So if they renounce his cap hold and don’t give him the qualifying offer, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent who the Knicks would only be able to sign with cap space, but the Knicks obviously have oodles of cap space. So if they wanted to sign him to, like, barely more than the vet minimum deal for a few years, I bet they could do so.

So what do you think the Knicks should do with Ntilikina?

As part of our all-poll content, here is the poll…

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Congrats to Tom Thibodeau, the 2020-21 NBA Coach of the Year!

I legit still don’t know how to spell Thibodeau without looking.

Anyhow, wow, in an upset victory over former Knick Monty Williams, Thibs edged out a win in the Coach of the Year voting through Williams inexplicably only appearing in the top two on 77 of the 100 ballots, while Thibs appeared in the top two on 85 of the ballots, so even with weighted voting and Williams receiving more first place votes (hence him being the odds-on favorite to win the award, due to more sportswriters naming him as their top pick in their various columns before the voting was announced), Thibs edged it out!

It was like a Knicks regular season victory, it was very unlikely (the person with the most first place votes almost always wins. It’s hard to get vote totals, but it’s been that way for at least the last 15 years before I gave up looking for more), but it was appreciated and well-earned!

Congrats, Thibs! Potential Knicks’ options for point guard next season, including Chris Paul

From the great Ian Begley:

The offseason is here, so here’s a look at a few options at point guard for the Knicks and a few things they may consider as they approach the position during free agency:

As noted last month, some teams keeping an eye on the point guard market feel that Derrick Rose’s strong play for New York will factor in to their approach at the position. Since Rose showed that he’s more than capable of handling 20 minutes per game, those teams wonder if the Knicks will be less inclined to pursue a big-money guard that plays significant minutes. Those teams are speculating, of course. But it’s informed speculation, based on the idea that New York will re-sign Rose and play him at least 15-20 minutes per game. Rose averaged 15 points on 49 percent shooting for New York in the regular season.

If the club eschews the traditional ball-dominant guard this summer, options include Devonte Graham, Lonzo Ball and Kendrick Nunn. All three guards are restricted free agents. The Knicks spoke to New Orleans about a potential Ball trade prior to the deadline but nothing materialized. As recently as late in the regular season, there was no consensus on Ball among Knicks decision makers.

Nunn, per sources, is among the guards who have been on the Knicks’ radar as they consider their offseason plans. Nunn shot 38.1 percent from beyond the arc on nearly six attempts per game this season and shot it remarkably well in the second half of the season. One member of an opposing organization analyzing the market drew a comparison between the 25-year-old Nunn and Terry Rozier, who averaged nine points per game in his last season with the Celtics before signing a three-year, $56 million deal with Charlotte. Rozier’s role increased. His production also increased. The opposing team thought Nunn, who averaged 14.6 points per game last year, could follow a similar path if his opportunities increased.

What could the market be for Nunn? The Athletic’s John Hollinger recently wrote that Nunn should command a contract in the 15 million per year range.

The rest of the post suggests Chris Paul, Dennis Schroeder and Kyle Lowry

I guess things could go worse than signing Kendrick Nunn and hope that he’s ready to take that next step.

If I had to bet on it, I think the Knicks end up with Kyle Lowry on a short-term, big money deal.

NY Post: Knicks’ season ends in blowout playoff loss to Hawks

The Knicks have been sent “on vacation,’’ as Hawks center Clint Capela promised.

The Knicks weaved a wonderful 41-31 regular season, but the Hawks proved it to be an inflated ledger in taking them out in five.

Atlanta outclassed the Knicks all series, eliminating them with a 103-89 victory Wednesday at the Garden in Game 5.

Capela was a huge factor in wiping the glass with 14 points and 15 rebounds, and shoving them into an offseason of potential promise with $60 million of cap space and two first-round picks. The Knicks missed injured center Mitchell Robinson in the series.

The Garden crowd showered the Knicks with a standing ovation in the final 50 seconds.

I was going to use this for a theoretical Game 6, but it works for now, as well.

Sorry for the thread delay, but I figured we all wanted to sit with the loss a bit first before we really fully reacted to it.

Okay, first things first, boy, that sucked.

Second thing, that crowd serenade was nice.

Third thing, I get wanting the starters on the court to celebrate their first playoff win, but I hope Nate eschews that approach if they win another series. Trae’s antics don’t really bother me (you know Knick fans would love it if the situations were reversed and that was a Knick doing those antics), but he really didn’t need to be out there to do the antics.

Fourth thing, as I joked in the opening of the game thread, Thibs soon realized that he needed Derrick Rose to start the game for the Knicks to have a chance, but he then also needed Derrick Rose to come off the bench for the Knicks to not fall apart when Derrick Rose rested. In other words, the Knicks were in a lose-lose situation at the point.

Fifth thing, with that in mind, though, while Thibs was right to lean on Rose, we saw last night that doing so likely led to Rose’s body giving out. As soon as he got hurt, this series was truly over. Rose just can’t play big minutes anymore. It’s simply not in his current physical capabilities.

Sixth thing, as even Berman noted, the Knicks really missed Mitch. However, they also missed a healthy Noel. After a season with really good health luck (where their one major injury was at a position where they had basically an only slightly discounted version of the injured player ready to fill in and then got a seemingly washed up veteran who was so good that he often closed out games), they had bad injury luck this series with Noel getting hurt early and Rose getting hurt late.

Seventh thing, we all get by now that it’s almost assuredly true that the downside of Thibs treating every game like it is Game 7 means that the Knicks have no extra gear left for the playoffs, while other teams A. Put more effort into the playoffs B. Play shorter rotations C. Don’t rest players and D. Spend the time on film that Thibs always does in the regular season. That’s an issue, I just don’t think it’s a major one. Getting the fourth seed instead of the ninth seed is a good thing. You just hope Leon Rose gives Thibs even better players in the future, so playoff letdowns will be less of an issue.

Eighth thing, Chandler Parsons was signed away from the Mavericks on a max contract while recovering from knee surgery following a mediocre Age 27 season. Julius Randle was just an All-Star and will possibly be an All-NBA player. He’s getting maxed out by someone if he holds off until next offseason to sign a deal following his age 27 season. Maybe it shouldn’t be the Knicks, but it will happen regardless. Don’t think that his shitty series here will suddenly limit his max offers.

Ninth thing, however, the shitty series likely does cap out all the other Knick free agents at the midlevel (not counting Taj or Payton. The former because he’s too old and the latter because he’s awful). That’s still $40 million for the Knicks to bring them all back, and likely not one year deals. So who knows what happens there.

Tenth thing, with how much the Knicks relied on a career resurgence by Derrick Rose, it does highlight that there are serious questions about how good this team will be next year. They’re in a great position, cap-wise and draft picks- wise, but there are so many question marks that this could go either way easily.

Final thing, this was still a very fun season and I’m glad we all had each other to share this with.

Let’s go, win the offseason, Knicks!

2021 NBA Playoffs Game Thread: Knicks vs. Hawks, Game 5 – All I Need is a Miracle

The Knicks host the Atlanta Hawks at the Garden tonight to avoid being eliminated in five games by the Hawks.

Or, in other words…

In all seriousness, it’s not like coming back from a 3-1 deficit when you’re not totally overwhelmed by the other team is impossible or anything like that. The Knicks could very well still win this series. It isn’t like the Nets/Celtics series where even had the Celtics pulled out Game 5, there was no way they were going to win two more games in that series. Here, the Knicks literally beat the Hawks all three times they played in the regular season, so why would it be impossible for them to win three in a row now? The answer is that it is not impossible. It’s very much a possibility. Not a strong possibility, but a possibility, especially back home at the Garden.

Clint Capela talked a lot of shit the other day about the Knicks being physical but not winning, so it would be nice for the Knicks to be physical tonight and win the game.

Rose and Taj remain in the starting lineup. The Knicks are really going to need Rose to play well throughout the game. As the joke goes, Thibs has discovered that when you start Derrick Rose, you sadly lose the ability to then sub in Derrick Rose off of the bench, as well, but he will try his best to do both tonight.

Julius Randle has had a lot of shit thrown at him the last few days, so it would be sure swell to see him deliver one of those monster games we know he is capable of (again, he has scored more than 40 points in a game four times in his career, half of them were against the Hawks this season).

Let’s go, bring this series back to Atlanta, Knicks!