While admitting he has to “keep adapting as time goes on,” Knicks coaching candidate Tom Thibodeau defended some of the criticisms leveled at him, including overplaying his star players and draining them come playoff time.
In an appearance on ESPN this week, Thibodeau shot down a lot of the naysayers who wonder if his taskmaster ways are not current enough.
The Post reported Thibodeau will be sought by Leon Rose if the new Knicks team president doesn’t keep interim coach Mike Miller. Multiple insiders believe Thibodeau is the favorite. The Post also reported this week the Nets and Rockets should have strong interest in him.
“I think we all have questions to answer as coaches,’’ Thibodeau said. “The big thing is, oftentimes there’s things that are being said where there’s no validity to them, they’re being painted by people that have never even been around you. And then I would say to all those people, the facts are what the facts are. To look into the facts, to do your research, to look into the numbers and to also talk to former players, the guys who have played for me. I think if you did that, you would find what the truth is.
“There are certain things that I do believe in. But as we all know, our league is always changing. It never stays the same and it never has, nor will it ever. So you have to keep adapting as time goes on.”
Thibodeau’s winning percentage stands at .589. In his five seasons in Chicago, Thibodeau’s percentage was .647. Even in a failed stint in Minnesota, he managed to break the Wolves’ 13-year playoff drought in his second season (2017-18).
Thibodeau said if Derrick Rose didn’t get hurt during his Bulls’ stint, “I felt we would have been champions.’’
Thibodeau was let go as Minnesota president and coach during the 2018-19 season after Jimmy Butler demanded a trade and got it. On the way out, Thibodeau was charged with not connecting with youngsters Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Wiggins.
“When you go into a franchise like that, where they had not been in the playoffs for 13 straight years, to get to the playoffs, to have 47 wins, to have the second-best record in the West, I was very proud of them as well,’’ Thibodeau said.
The Post reported the former Knicks assistant is quarantining in Connecticut and, though the Wolves owe him another year on his contract, he wants to get back on the NBA sidelines.
As for the teams said to have an interest in him, Thibodeau downplayed it.
“They’re just rumors,’’ he said. “And this time of year, everything is on hold. Normally you would have some openings and right now there aren’t any openings. So you don’t want to speculate on what jobs could open. That’s what you have an agent for. He’ll certainly, at some point, look at if there is an opportunity, whether it be a good match or not.
“I’m still under contract with Minnesota, so I feel like I’m in a position where I can be patient.”
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