Morning Knicks 7/20: Robinson's Field Goal Record Not Set Yet, Thibodeau Watching Knicks' Game Film, and More

Check out all the latest Knicks news, notes, and links for Monday, July 20.
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-Mitchell Robinson hasn't wrapped up the all-time field goal percentage record just yet. SNY's Ian Begley reported that statistics in Orlando games would count toward this record, meaning there's a chance someone can still catch Robinson. The big man shouldn't sweat it too much however. Begley said that "Rudy Gobert would need to make at least 89 field goals without a miss during the eight games in Orlando" to catch Mitch. Barring an unforeseen dunkfest by Gobert, it's only a matter of time before Robinson gets his record.

-Tom Thibodeau is likely to become the next Knicks' head coach. To pass the time until then, Marc Berman of The New York Post reported that Thibodeau is watching Knicks' game film. This could mean Thibs knows he has the job locked up, or it could just be part of the coach's obsessive nature with basketball. Berman did say that the head coach decision "probably will come next week," so Leon Rose is set to beat the previously reported date of July 31. If Thibodeau does get the job, he'll probably just keep doing what he's doing: watching film. It's hard for Knicks fans to not like that.

There has been some criticism as to whether Thibodeau is able to adapt with the way the league is going. His Bulls' teams were among the best in defense, but toward the end of his run there and during his time in Minnesota, Thibodeau's defensive units did have as much success. This brought up several questions. Is Thibodeau not able to change with the times? Were the defensive struggles even his fault? Our own Jonathan Macri did a fantastic breakdown of how Thibodeau employed his defensive style, what happened when teams caught on to it, and what changes, if any, does Thibodeau need to make.

-The decision of whether to pick up Elfrid Payton's option is maybe the toughest one Leon Rose has in terms of players signed last season. Payton was productive and does have a cheap enough salary for next season, so he could provide value on his contract. However, our own Alex Wolfe believes Payton needs to be shown the door. In his latest "Keep or Cut" piece, Alex wrote about Payton and how regardless of how good the point guard was, Rose needs to cut ties and allow the young floor generals on the roster (and perhaps one the Knicks draft) to soak up the minutes that Payton did last season.

-This WNBA season is set to be unprecedented given the current pandemic. The New York Liberty will be relying on mostly rookies to navigate these uncharted watersand it may work out to their advantage. Our own Lauren Russell wrote about the Liberty's young group as the season draws near, and the players are ready to go. The rookies may not have any WNBA experience, but they do have more familiarity in one area than the other players: playing in a campus environment. Rookies like Sabrina Ionescu and Kylee Shook are not far removed from living somewhere similar to the current WNBA bubble, and that could give the team an extra edge.

-Marc Berman of The New York Post released his mailbag with some particularly noteworthy comments on Frank Ntilikina and Mike Woodson. Berman wrote that "the sense is Rose wants to turn the Frenchman into a valuable piece." This could indicate that Ntilikina is in the Knicks' long term plans after all. Berman also answered a question about Mike Woodson, saying the former Knicks' head coach "told friends he desperately wants back in New York in any role." If Tom Thibodeau is hired, Woodson could make his way onto his staff. You can read the full mailbag here.

-Our own Kris Pusiainen has been putting out 2020 NBA Draft scouting reports for months, and he has finally released his Top 10 Big Board. You can check out the list here, along with a video breakdown of how Kris got there. Point guard is a massive need for the Knicks, but one player who has rocketed up for Kris has been Deni Avdija, due to his recent strong play in Israel. In regards to just the point guards, Kris also released his top-five point guard big board of the lottery. It's no surprise that LaMelo Ball sits at the top, but if the Knicks can't get him, Kris has you covered as to the order in which they should draft next.

-For fans of Killian Hayes, there seems to be some interest from the Knicks. SNY's Ian Begley reported that New York was one of the lottery teams who interviewed the French point guard. He also said "Hayes would likely speak with Minnesota and Golden State but didn’t plan to do an interview with Cleveland." If the Knicks can't draft Ball, Hayes would be a stellar backup plan. There isn't a consensus as to who the second best point guard in the draft is, but Hayes's feel for the game and potential on defense gives him a strong case.

-This weekend, Taj Gibson spoke in Brooklyn about Black Lives Matter and gun violence to a crowd of people. However, he said he wouldn't talk too much about the Knicks' head coaching decision until it's been made. Marc Berman of The New York Post spoke with Gibson about what he and his foundation have been doing for racial injustice and the current pandemic. Gibson did say he was confident in the Knicks making the right hire. The former Bull has a team option of about $10 million next season. It's fair to wonder if Tom Thibodeau coming on board increases the chances of Gibson staying in New York.

-The upcoming Knicks' offseason will provide a long look into Leon Rose's brain. Does he stay patient and put New York in a good position for the major free agent class in 2021, or is he ready to make move right away? Rose will have plenty of options, and The Athletic's CBA expert Danny Leroux did a great job of breaking down the whole offseason, discussing potential free agents, draft options, the risks and rewards of prioritizing either 2020 or 2021, and more.

-Add B.J. Armstrong to the growing list of Tom Thibodeau supporters. Marc Berman of The New York Post spoke with the former Bull and current agent of Derrick Rose about Thibodeau, talking about how committed Thibs is to coaching and how great his relationship with Rose was. Thibodeau did bring Rose in to Minnesota when he coached there. The praise is nice, but if and when Thibodeau is hired, he will still have something to prove. You can read the full article on Berman and Armstrong's conversation here.