The winning coaching mentality of all Thibodeau games led to short spins and heavy minutes for his stars. In his last full season in Minnesota, Thibs played both Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns in the top 10 of total minutes played, and both played an 82-game schedule with no free nights. There are some around the league who watch Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah’s career span and wonder if cargo management would change things.
Wearing guys down will fly with the Knicks, a team that tries to develop young players. Mitchell Robinson and RJ Barrett should have a lot of minutes – and a lot of rope to make mistakes and learn from them – but New York doesn’t want to wear down its young stars. Additionally, the Knicks are expected to have a few good veterans in the team’s locker room as mentors, but Thibodeau cannot lean on those veterans to try and rack up wins with a tight eight-man rotation.
The Knicks need to find and develop other young players (like the nets did a spin, giving Spencer Dinwiddie room to grow) and this comes with patience and using a deep bench.
Thibodeau spent his season away from the coach traveling in the league, talking to other coaches and watching them work. He told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski about The Woj Pod that he learned a lot from Doc Rivers – the Clippers’ coach known to have the least amount of practice in the league.
“But [Rivers] is the best one to manage the day before, in the middle, they had that day off, but everyone came in. And their boys really work, and the older boys received care and treatment. So figure out who is yours team and what everyone needs. “
If Thibodeau really learned that lesson, the Knicks will be in better shape.