The New York Knicks finally have a big name for the franchise. It might not be a superstar player, but former Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is now the head coach of the New York Knicks. With a 5-year deal, the Knicks have acquired their head coach for the foreseeable future.
Tom Thibodeau is a coach who bases his entire system around hard work and defense. He is known to absolutely run players to the ground with their work ethic, which is not always a good thing. But for the Knicks, this is a very good thing. They like any sort of competitiveness and need a massive culture change.
With Tom Thibodeau on board, The Knicks must acquire the appropriate players to fit his system. Here are the perfect players that the Knicks can acquire next season to fit Tom Thibodeau’s new system in New York.
10. Dwight Howard
7.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 73.2% FG
Dwight Howard has revived his career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Even though he’s the backup big man, Howard is showing the dedication and willingness to play major minutes again. Howard’s dedication is impressive, and Thibbs might want Howard to prove himself as the team’s starting big man.
Howard’s Finals experience would come in handy for the Knicks, while D12 might miss being the center of attention again with a chance to prove himself once more.
9. Hassan Whiteside
16.3 PPG, 14.2 RPG, 3.1 BPG, 61.8% FG
Hassan Whiteside was brought in by the Portland Trail Blazers to be the team’s center since Jusif Nurkic was out with injury. Whiteside has been impressive on the stat sheet, with impressive scoring and rebounding numbers. The Knicks might utilize his services to catapult his career so he can help the team defensively.
Whiteside has come under criticism for his lack of effort throughout the past few seasons, but he seemed to right the wrongs this year. If the Blazers get bounced out of the playoffs, he might be looking for a revival in New York.
8. Tristan Thompson
12.0 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 2.1 APG, 51.2% FG
Tristan Thompson had a roller coaster over the past few years in terms of off-court issues, but he’s still a very productive player. He is a beast on the boards and thrives his game on defense.
With Thibodeau and the New York Knicks, this type of player is very welcomed. Thompson’s double-double ability will fit in Thibodeau’s system since Thompson bases his whole career off of hustle.
7. Serge Ibaka
16.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 51.8% FG
Former NBA champion Serge Ibaka is a shot-blocking big man who can space the floor. Not only does he play hard on defense, but he is not an offensive liability like the other centers on the list. Ibaka’s shooting will help the Knicks greatly, and his defense will help them be a better team instantly.
Thibbs needs a player he can rely on to play hard every night, and there are not many players who have Ibaka’s professionalism and playoff experience. This is a match made in heaven.
6. Aaron Gordon
14.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 3.7 APG, 43.3% FG
Aaron Gordon is an ultra-athletic forward who needs to be in a situation that caters to his skill set. In Orlando, there’s not much to cheer about and he does not seem as motivated as he should be. Playing under the bright lights of New York, Gordon might finally have his best years.
Aaron Gordon is a player that thrives off the crowd, as we have seen with his memorable Dunk Contest performances, so he might find success playing in New York. Under Tom Thibodeau, he might develop a better overall game and learn how to dominate the game defensively with his skill set and gifted athleticism.
5. Fred VanVleet
17.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 6.6 APG, 40.9% FG
Fred VanVleet was a crucial part of the Raptors championship success last year. He’s an excellent shooter from deep and a capable starter on any team in the league. He also has championship experience which would be a valuable asset for a franchise like the Knicks.
VanVleet plays hard and doesn’t back down from anyone, so he would immediately become one of Thibodeau’s favorite players. He would play major minutes and be a solid contributor and leader for the team.
4. Montrezl Harrell
18.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.7 APG, 58.0% FG
Harrell has pretty much arrived as a star big man in the league. He plays on both ends, and also gives the effort and energy that Tom Thibodeau would absolutely love. In terms of a perfect big man for Thibbs, Montrezl Harrell is it.
Harrell’s energy and aggression would shake up the team immensely and almost immediately. Nobody on the Knicks plays with the sort of passion that Harrell has, so a player like this would start a culture change for sure.
3. Derrick Rose
18.1 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 5.6 APG, 49.0% FG
Derrick Rose has had a revival with the Pistons this year. He is showing the ability to pass and score the ball like he used to, although without his lightning speed and explosive athletic ability which he lost to injury. Still, he can be an immediate star for the Knicks.
New York New York Knicks fans want something to cheer about, and Derrick Rose will give them a fan favorite to fill up seats and also some hope that he can return to at least a part of his MVP form.
2. DeMar DeRozan
22.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 5.6 APG, 52.6% FG
The Knicks need a bona fide All-Star on their team. They lack any real form of star power outside of Julius Randle, who probably won’t make an All-Star team anytime soon. DeMar DeRozan, on the other hand, is a 20 PPG score in his sleep and one of the best swingmen in the NBA.
DeRozan has improved his all-around game as a member of the San Antonio Spurs, and he might be ready to take the next step as a leader of a storied franchise like the Knicks.
1. Chris Paul
17.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 6.8 APG, 48.9% FG
Chris Paul would be an immediate culture change. CP3 is an All-Star this year, and still one of the best point guards in the NBA. Many wrote off Chris Paul and his production before the start of the season, but he has shown that he can still play at an elite level.
The Knicks need a player who can provide leadership on both ends of the floor and be a direct extension of Tom Thibodeau on the court. There is not a better fit for the New York Knicks right now than Chris Paul.