Interesting Dan Favale piece:
Baseline sensibility is an awfully low bar to which to hold an NBA franchise. Celebrating what feels like the bare minimum of coherent thinking doesn’t sit right. But we’d be remiss not to acknowledge that, in this case, it also represents a shift in operations. The bare minimum has by and large proved to be unreachable for so long. Even when promising groundwork appears to be laid, it is inevitably short-circuited for a chance at superstar hoarding.
Maybe this iteration of the front office, led by Leon Rose, deserves the benefit of the doubt. Maybe.
The tentacles of CAA, Rose’s former agency, continue to have a tight grip on the organization. Just for starters, Toppin is represented by them, as is head coach Tom Thibodeau. The latter’s arrival itself was seen as a red flag.
Never mind the optics of a recently hired agent using his new position to hire his former client. Thibodeau isn’t the coach you choose to chaperone one of the league’s youngest rosters and oversee a thorough rebuild. As the New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy noted: “In his last 15 seasons as a top assistant or head coach—with the Rockets, Celtics, Bulls and Timberwolves—Thibodeau finished with exactly two losing records.”
Boxing coaches into a roster type is lame. They can adapt. (Though, Thibodeau has yet to show he can update his defensive approach.) And Thibodeau isn’t in New York under false pretense. No amount of cap space was going to rescue the Knicks from the fringes of the NBA’s basement. It wasn’t that type of free-agency class. Both he and Rose emphasized player development about a kajillion times when Thibodeau was hired. This version of the Knicks could be different.
I think he splits the baby well between complimenting the Knicks and noting that it is still relatively early in our judgment on these guys.