Ex-Warriors GM Praises Leon Rose, Tom Thibodeau for Turning Knicks Around

James Dolan, Leon Rose, Tom Thibodeau, New York Knicks

Getty ESPN sports analyst and former NBA player Richard Jefferson (R) laughs as people in the front row, including owner James Dolan (L), head coach Tom Thibodeau (3rd L) and Leon Rose (4th L) of the New York Knicks, talk to him.

Former Golden State Warriors general manager-turned-ESPN analyst Bob Myers praised Leon Rose and Tom Thibodeau for turning the New York Knicks‘ fortunes around.

“I don’t think anybody would disagree that the Knicks are a much better place than they were prior to Leon [Rose], [William Wesley] and [Tom] Thibodeau showing up. They made the playoffs,” Myers said in a conference call with reporters on Monday.

Under Rose’s leadership and Thibodeau’s coaching, the Knicks went from a perennial lottery team to two playoff appearances over the last three years. Last season, they clinched the fifth seed and won their first playoff series in 10 years with a stunning 4-1 upset of the fourth-seed Cleveland Cavaliers.

“That’s a big improvement,” Myers said of the Knicks’ playoff run. “Pretty close to home court in playoffs. I think they would have hoped for a better playoff run. But still, I mean, pretty darn good.”

“And Thibodeau, one thing Thibodeau is great at is he will make sure that you’re getting the most of what you have,” Myers added. “Some might say, well, of course, that’s obvious.”

“I think he’s one of the best in the league at getting the most out of his players and the most out of each regular season game. He coaches every game like it’s a playoff game, and I think that works well in that market, that kind of effort.”

Thibodeau has become a polarizing figure among the Knicks fanbase, much like the team’s two-time All-Star Julius Randle.

Thibodeau’s gruff persona and no-nonsense approach have rubbed off some fans the wrong way, but make no mistake; he’s been the best coach the Knicks had in the last 20 years.

And Myers, a two-time NBA Executive of the Year and the architect of the Warriors’ dynasty, has his stamp of approval.

NBA GMs Voted Knicks as 5th Seed in the East

The Knicks will finish as the fifth seed again in the Eastern Conference, according to the annual NBA GM survey.

They drew 7% of the votes to rank fifth, just 1% behind the projected fourth seed Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers are still a big question mark pending resolution of disgruntled James Harden’s trade request.

A considerable part of the GMs’ confidence in the Knicks is having Thibodeau. The Knicks coach was tied with Memphis’ Taylor Jenkins as the head coach with the best defensive schemes. Thibodeau and Jenkins got 13% of the votes, with Miami’s Erik Spoelstra as the runaway top choice with 40%.

Potential Immanuel Quickley Suitors

Four rebuilding teams with cap space next summer had been floated as potential Immanuel Quickley‘s suitors if the Knicks guard enters restricted free agency.

Daily News’ Kristian Winfield listed the Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons and Utah Jazz as the teams who could tender a rich offer sheet that the Knicks might balk at matching.

The Knicks have until October 23 to sign Quickley to an extension. Otherwise, they risk losing him to one of those four teams next summer.

Of the four teams mentioned, the Spurs project to be the biggest threat to pry away Quickley in restricted free agency. They will have the largest cap space at $55.3 million next summer, per Spotrac, and they currently need a dynamic point guard of Quickley’s ilk to pair with their franchise cornerstone Victor Wembanyama.

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