Coach Thibodeau Praises New York Knicks Bench After Preseason Win

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NBA basketball is officially back and the New York Knicks got their first crack at showing off the new roster in a matchup against the Indiana Pacers.

Most of the eyeballs were rightly focused on how Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker slot into the lineup, and through a whopping one preseason game, it looks like both of those players will fit right in.

Fournier got off to a hot start in the first half and Walker scored the first Knicks points of the season, albeit unofficial ones.

The preseason is all about building a rapport, so look for these two to play a bit more in order to integrate with the rest of the roster.

With the starting lineup looking so solid, fans might be left wondering what the second unit looks like. Well, they are looking good, at least according to coach Tom Thibodeau.


Knicks Looking Solid All Over

julius randle derrick rose mvp new york knicks

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The bench is an important part of an NBA team, so it’s something you don’t see a lot of good teams ignoring when building out a playoff roster.

Through some key free agency signings along with hitting on draft picks, the Knicks have a very potent second unit put together this season, and they should only get better over the years.

Led by former MVP Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley, and Alec Burks are also weapons that can’t be ignored.

Coach Thibodeau had nothing but praise for this group following the victory over the Pacers.

“All three can handle the ball, all three are very effective in dribble handoffs, they’re very effective with the pitch, they’re very effective downhill and reading defense,” Thibs said, according to the NY Daily News. “So that puts a lot of pressure on the defense, and so you can get an advantage in terms of a mismatch.”

It sounds like we can expect to see these three guards sharing the court a lot in the upcoming season.

Having a veteran sixth man like Rose goes a long way toward getting the younger players on the bench all on the same page, so the Knicks are definitely lucky in that regard.


What’s Best Case Scenario?

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It’s tough to look at this Knicks roster and not agree that it’s much improved over last season. Last season, the team was able to lock down home-court advantage in the first round, which many would agree was not expected from the Knicks going into the season.

Given the upgrades, one might think that the Knicks could go even further this year. Not so fast. In a new general manager survey, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of optimism around the league about the Knicks making the top-4 in the conference again.

Of course, this doesn’t mean anything on paper because the season hasn’t even started yet, but it does seem like the Knicks will have an uphill battle in front of them. There are a lot of good teams in the Eastern Conference, and this definitely isn’t the same conference that LeBron used to run through. It’s a lot deeper now, so the Knicks will have to battle with a lot of teams to make the playoffs again.

They’ll likely be another playoff team this year, but maybe fans shouldn’t get their hopes up for home court again.

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