Knicks Notes: Thibodeau, Payton, Toppin, COVID-19

Tom Thibodeau deserves Coach of the Year consideration for the way he has transformed the Knicks, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. This afternoon’s win over Portland puts the team at 11-13, good for sixth place in the East a third of the way through the season. Bondy notes that every starter on this year’s team was also on last year’s squad, which began the season 4-18.

Thibodeau has instilled a defense-first mentality and has given more minutes to players who excel in that area. As a result, the Knicks are holding opponents to the lowest field-goal percentage in the league at 43.5%. They also allow the second-fewest points and have a defensive rating in the top seven.

“There’s not one particular thing when you look at the analytics — which everybody does — that there wasn’t one thing that really stood out other than the fact that teams do not shoot the ball well against them, which is ultimately the best metric to have,” said Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts. “What I see is a team that plays hard, they play physical, they’re active, they’re aggressive. They go after loose balls. They’re a hard-nosed defensive team.”

There’s more Knicks news to pass along:
  • One of Thibodeau’s most controversial decisions has been to stick with Elfrid Payton as his starting point guard ahead of high-scoring rookie Immanuel Quickley, notes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Quickley scored 31 points against the Blazers last month, but he remained on the bench for the entire first quarter today as Thibodeau relied on Payton to match up with Damian Lillard. “The big thing is the defense,’’ Thibodeau said of Payton’s contributions. “That’s the biggest tone-setter for us. The defensive component. That’s his strength and helps his team when he starts on the ball. And to keep us organized offensively and be opportunities with scoring opportunities.”
  • First-round pick Obi Toppin broke into a huge smile when asked about participating in a dunk contest if the league holds one along with its All-Star game, Berman adds in the same story. Toppin’s playing time has been limited in his first NBA season, but he was a prolific dunker in college. “The dunk contest, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see,’’ Toppin said. “I don’t want to just give you all answers, but hopefully I might be able to be there. Maybe not. So we’re just going to have to wait and see.’’
  • While COVID-19 has caused havoc for many NBA teams, the Knicks haven’t had any players miss a game due to the virus, according to Steve Popper of Newsday.
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17 thoughts on “Knicks Notes: Thibodeau, Payton, Toppin, COVID-19

  1. Marty McRae

    No, one one deserves coach of the year for starting the season 11-13, get out of here, the east is still a dumpster fire if they’re 6th, it’s not because they’re good.

    • Lil_D_Top_3

      There’s that positive attitude we all love. Thanks, Marty.

      Thibs has certainly put the team on a good track, and so it’s no surprise to see (hyperbolic) praise from a local NY media outlet. They still have a ways to go, but there’s a promising outlook for Knicks fans.

    • Curtisrowe

      Once the Raptors and Hornets get straightened out, and they will, the East is going to look a lot better. Hawks will be 8 seed, big drop off from there to 9th and 10th.

    • "Stons" Fan

      Exactly! Lol coach of the year for a sub 500 team. Lets make Randle MVP while we are at it. NY and LA swear they are the center of the universe.

    • jimmyduz0523

      take it easy bro, nobody said that they good, not yet at least… smh… Rome wasn’t built in one day. The team is watchable and plays very good defense.

    • You trash 11-13 but endlessly praise your Warriors, who are only 12-10.

      And before you chime in with how amazing the record is because of how stacked the West is, please know that I do not care.

      • lovesexland

        I’m just waiting for him to chime in with how Kerr should be coach of the year…

    • KnickerbockerAl

      Go chew on Currys shorts lol. You are the most uninformed Homer on this board. I respect homers even bad ones. Cause at least it means they are loyal. But you just shout with no respect for facts. If you’re going to throw smack. You know smack is coming back. I guess you like getting smacked Down FanBoy.
      Knicks vs Warriors 119 – 104. Smacked
      Warriors against East — (4 – 5) Samacked
      LOL two of those wins against Pistons. 1 on Bulls, 1 on Raps. Smacked ouch ouch ouch
      You can’t handle the sixth seed. 11th Bulls, 8th Raps
      15th Pistons …….. You Clown yourself LOL

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ha Ha ha ha ha ha
      Ha Ha Ha ha ha ha. Ha ha ha ha mmmmmm
      mmm. Breathing . Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
      Haha ha ha ha ha ha ha…….. wiuhaha wuhagahahaga

      • Lil_D_Top_3

        Lol it’s posts like these that affirm my status as top 3 commenter – not #1 overall. Too many other people who absolutely bring it.

  2. Sillivan

    Every Mavs loss is a win for Knicks
    Every Rockets loss is a win for Thunder
    Every Wolves loss is a win for Warriors

    Watch the games now

    The bad teams trade away 2021 First round picks
    Crazy crazy crazy

    • jimmyduz0523

      at the time they thought they weren’t going to be bad. but the knicks will love and take every mavs loss.

  3. KnickerbockerAl

    Thibs should be considered for COY. Still a long way to go. He’s definitely helped Payton. He was always a D player. It’s why I don’t get why Nttilikina is not riding Thibs. He should be a Thibs favorite. Seems the NYC thinhas affected Nttilikina and Smith too much. I hope we haven’t list Knox yet. Quickly can grow as backup no need to rush. Toppin also will come along. Best thing that could happen to Knicks is getting great value for Randle. We listening cause it’s happening. Toppin is the future here. Stay ready Obi1. I’d say 30% of Knick fans are like Marty. Only see and read what’s in front of them. Never see the possibilities or the big picture. It’s 21 gms what excatly are we suppose to be doing. It’s hilarious lols. It’s a rebuild and it’s going pretty darn good m. I’m loving it. In Thibs we Trust
    4 Picks in 2021 Draft …… FOUR

  4. Sillivan

    2021 Knicks 4 draft picks prediction
    31 Pistons
    40 Hornets

    I think Wolves traded 2021 second rounder to Warriors and 2022 second rounder to Knicks

  5. buttholesurfer69

    Thibs is walking a fine line I will say that

    No one needs a feel good season more than my Knicks

    BUT: Toppin and Quickley need to see more consistent minutes as well, even if it costs a game here or there

  6. Jason Lancaster

    COTY is a stretch for sub 500 basketball, but the Knicks get an outsized share of media attention, so he’s got a shot.

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