Knicks have bought into Tom Thibodeau's 'hard work' mindset -- and it's working

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Coby Green
·2 min read
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Tom Thibodeau in huddle
Tom Thibodeau in huddle

The Knicks look like a completely different team this year when you compare it to last, but it's not just the player personnel change that's made the difference.

Sure, getting a steal in the draft in Immanuel Quickley, and signing Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks during the offseason were big, but the real addition came in the head coaching chair with Tom Thibodeau.

Thibodeau, along assistant coach Kenny Payne, have transformed the culture of this Knicks organization -- through the guidance of new front office members Leon Rose and World Wide Wes.

The players on the team have more than just taken notice of the new culture, they've bought in -- Thibodeau held a "blackout day" for the players on Thursday, meaning no training or workouts, just rest, but multiple guys were still trying to figure out way to get into the gym.

"I love our group. They're all serious, hard-working, dedicated. You couldn't ask for anything more as a coach," Thibodeau said during shootaround Friday as the Knicks try to extend their win streak to nine on Saturday.

A number of players on the team have played under a few different coaches in this league already, but some are already feeling the Thibodeau effect on their play and on the teammates around them.

"He's super detailed, he wanna make sure we get it right in shootaround before it happens in a game, he watch a lot of film, he studies a lot of film -- I'm sure he's up all night watching a lot of film," Reggie Bullock said of Thibodeau. "He's preparing us at the right pace and the right approach to each game, so he definitely keeps us in tune with the things that's going on with other teams and he's just super prepared every night for our next opponent."

"It's been nothing but love," Derrick Rose said of his relationship with Thibodeau -- the two are currently in their third stint together, having already been in the same organizations in Chicago and Minnesota. "I know his terminology, I know how he want's things done, and my job is to be vocal and not only help the players, but help him adjust too."

The Knicks host the Toronto Raptors Saturday night at MSG as they try and maintain their hold on the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.