As Tom Thibodeau rebuilds the Knicks, one legendary sports coach offered an interesting perspective.
In a statement to the New York Post's Marc Berman, longtime New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick opened up on his relationship with Thibodeau.
"We both have a strong background in defense," he said. "But other than that, you would have to ask him for specifics. I love the way Tom coaches. He is poised and does a great job with adjustments and quick decisions."
From his days growing up in New Britain, Conn., to a stint while the Boston Celtics' associate head coach (2007-10) under Doc Rivers (2004-13), Thibodeau's Patriots fandom overlapped as he climbed a coaching ladder to Chicago Bulls (2010-15) and Minnesota Timberwolves (2016-19) head coach.
"I grew up in Connecticut, so obviously I'm a Patriots fan," Thibodeau said Jan. 30, 2018, to ESPN's Nick Friedell. "When I was in Boston, I had an opportunity to watch them very closely. I had the good fortune of going down (for) a day and watching practice and getting a chance to visit with (Belichick).
"His record speaks for itself. He's one of the all-time greats, if not the greatest. What he's done is simply amazing, and as a New Englander I don't take that for granted. I appreciate every moment."
Belichick, 68, is a six-time Super Bowl champion and three-time Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year. Into his 21st year as head coach of the Patriots, he sports a 275-131 record.
Thibodeau, 62, started his coaching career in New England by way of Salem State (1981-84 assistant, 1984-85 head coach) and Harvard (1985-89 assistant) before a 1989 NBA jump to the Timberwolves' staff. A 2011 NBA Coach of the Year, Thibodeau is 598-352 overall with seven playoff appearances.