Tom Thibodeau spent seven years as an assistant coach with the Knicks, primarily with Jeff Van Gundy. Jeff Nix was with New York when Thibodeau was on the bench. Nix also worked with Thibodeau in Minnesota.
So he has a qualified perspective on the new manager Knicks.
Nix talks about Thibodeau’s approach to coaching, the type of player who thrives under Thibodeau and how his off-the-field approach may surprise you:
“He is very disciplined, very organized, he bases many things through precision. Everything must be perfect. I think all the players (Knicks) hugged him (when Thibodeau was an assistant) – it’s part of the win. Everyone wants to win, but you also need to be willing to work to win and Tom is a winning guy. The players he trains – if they are willing to put in the job and willing to show a commitment to victory, then they are the ones who will play.
“He will start (teaching his teams) on the lowest basic basketball level. Sometimes you may feel that you are trained in high school. But players who want to work to win buy it. And I want to do it because in the end it will make them better. I think only today, many players think that tiny things are above them. That’s why you find the players who are wrong. And Tom wants to eliminate the mistakes.
“…. Tom expects perfection and all players who don’t want anyone to expect them to be good and expect them to overcome what they even think they can do, so it may not be the right choice. But it’s not Tom’s fault. It would be the player’s fault. I would like to embrace a coach who is so busy and wants to win and wants me to learn and wants me to be a better player. That’s all Tom wants to do.
“His results over time have been very successful. It did not lead to championships, but it certainly led to a change in fortunes. I think coaches from all over the league respect him. They know how difficult it is to do it. Sometimes it is even more difficult to do it the way it is currently set up with so many young players. “