Having Tom Thibodeau on his bench is the insurance for the franchise in question to have a defensive coach. It’s as much a label as a reality: the teams led by Thibodeau are marked by discipline, intensity, a big physical impact on this side of the field.
The latter is obsessed with control and if it works with his defensive principles, in attack, on the other hand, it is very often less brilliant. Last season is excellent proof of this: the Knicks were rough from start to finish.
“I know I’ve been put in boxes, but that’s not a problem for me”assumes the former Chicago coach at the New York Post. “I’ve also led teams that were in the top five attacks (Bulls and Wolves). When you know how to defend, you also know how to break a defense, and where the flaws are. It’s an advantage, a good thing I think. »
Except that with the omnipresence, which is almost omnipotence, of 3-point shooting and rhythm in the NBA for a few years, having an iron defense is certainly still mandatory to go far, but no longer sufficient.
“This is how the league evolves, either we follow the movement or we stay behind”
With the arrival of Jalen Brunson and the young talents of the franchise (RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, Cam Reddish or even Immanuel Quickley), isn’t it time to make a change in philosophy, to turn more towards the attack ?
“The most important thing is to do what gives us the best chance of winning,” replies the tactician. “Good coaches, good players, if they stay in the league, it’s because they constantly adapt”, explains Brunson. “That’s how the league evolves, either we follow the movement or we stay behind. »
The coach of the year 2011 and 2021 therefore seems ready to put more emphasis on the attack to make the best possible use of the potential of his group. But he warns: attack more yes, but not at the expense of attacking well. And to defend hard, of course.
“The idea is to know how we can create good shots, get more layups, free throws, winning shots in the corners”, lists Thibodeau. “When we see how teams manage to have 3-point shots, it’s often in transition or on offensive rebounds. So the more we do, the better. »