Knicks Daily Roundup 6/1: Thibodeau's Job to Lose, Knicks Practice Facility Opens, Still Likely to Be Left Out of NBA Return, and More
-Tom Thibodeau as the next Knicks head coach is getting closer by the day. Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News reported that "the belief is that this (the Knicks head coaching job) is Thibodeau’s to lose." Bondy said that Thibodeau is even making calls about hiring for his staff. This is a significant bit of information, as it's sounding extremely likely that Thibodeau is on the New York bench next season. You can read more about Bondy's report and Thibodeau here.
-The Knicks are back (but not really back). The team announced on Friday that their practice facility was opened for players to participate in voluntary workouts. The Knicks had been one of the few remaining teams yet to open those facilities. While this is a step in the right direction, there's still no guarantee the players get back on the court. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Ramona Shelburne, and Zach Lowe reported that owners are expected to support NBA commissioner Adam Silver's plan on the league bringing only the top 20-22 teams back, which would not include New York. For health and safety reasons, the Knicks may not be back until next season.
-Patrick Ewing has gotten some disrespect throw his way recently. From "The Last Dance" hot takes, to comments made by Charles Oakley, Big Pat's greatness has been forgotten by some. Our own Kaelin Tully is here to refresh your memory. Kaelin wrote a three-part series on why Ewing doesn't need a ring to prove his greatness. When a championship eludes a legend, people sometimes forget about how incredible that player truly was. Ewing was a transformative center who led the Knicks to a great amount of success. He became a symbol for New York basketball and a player that all New York fans remember as one of the greatest Knicks of all time. As Kaelin writes, not winning a title (which could have happened if a few bounces went his way) should not cloud the perception of his career. You can click the following to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the series about Ewing.
-Onyeka Okongwu is a fascinating prospect for the Knicks to consider. The USC big man is an excellent defender and has flashed shooting and passing ability. Okongwu's potential fits the mold of the modern NBA small ball center. But what about Mitchell Robinson? Our own Kris Pursiainen wrote his scouting report on Okongwu, discussing his fit with the Knicks. Best player available is usually the right strategy for bad teams, but the Knicks will have a difficult decision to make if Okongwu is the top prospect on their board when it's time to pick.
Dayton's Obi Toppin is a similar case. The reigning Naismith Player of the Year is a top-notch offensive player, excelling as a scorer and shooter. He's extremely athletic and can put the ball in the basket at every level. Toppin isn't a great defender, but he does have a chance to be passable on that end. Like Okongwu, the fit of having another big man is tricky. Kris explains the benefits Toppin would bring to the Knicks and how the team could deploy him.
-It's no secret the Knicks need shooting. But does Leon Rose agree? SNY's Ian Begley wrote about how Rose could rebuild this roster for the 2020 season. Notably, Begley said that "The New York Post reported that Rose told the Knicks in March that finding a scoring guard was the top priority in the draft and a shooting guard was the second priority," and that "an SNY source said finding a forward who can knock down a shot - in the draft or free agency - is one item on the Knicks' list." There's a lot to unpack here. Getting shooting is great, but does this mean Rose could acquire another inefficient gunner? What about focusing on defense? Where does this leave R.J. Barrett (maybe at small forward)? Fans will have to wait and see what Rose has up his sleeve.