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Knicks candidate Tom Thibodeau joined ESPN's The Woj Pod with Adrian Wojnarowski and talked about what he learned from traveling around and observing different teams over the past NBA season.
One aspect that stuck out to him? How teams manage practices in the era of load management.
"It's interesting because the way everyone's managing with load management and where your team is, sports scientists, it's different," Thibodeau said on the podcast. "If your team is young and you're in a rebuild, you're probably practicing more than an older veteran team. In some cases where the team is mixed, there's almost two practices going on in one, where your young guys are getting the work that they need, and the older vets might be in the weight room getting strength and conditioning and then they flip it and then the vets will get their work… and then they come together for a short period of time to do something together at the end and maybe they'll watch film together at the end."
If you follow the NBA, you know that one of the criticisms of Thibodeau is something like this: his intensity and his approach to practices/playing time wear players out.
Whether that's true or not depends on who you talk to and what their perspective is on the matter.
But it's interesting to hear Thibodeau talk about what he'd observed during his hiatus after being fired as team president/coach of the Timberwolves.
He also noted on the podcast how much staffs have grown in recent seasons.
"Your assistant coaches, your player development guys, your interns, your video guys, your analytics people, your sports scientists, your strength and conditioning people. It's a very large amount of people. So everyone has to be communicating and working together to make the best possible decision," he said, later adding, "(Visiting with teams) has been interesting and the league never stays the same. It's always evolving and changing and you want to make sure you're keeping up with the times."
Thibodeau referenced his 10-day visit with Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, whom he coached under in Boston, as particularly helpful.
"(Rivers) is the best at managing the day before, in between, they had that day off, but everyone came in. And their young guys really work, and the older guys were getting treatment and recovery," Thibodeau said. "So I think understanding who your team is and what everyone needs. And also there's probably more to it because you've got to be careful not to divide your team also."
The whole interview is fascinating if you're interested in hearing more about Thibodeau from the coach himself.
From a Knicks perspective, if new team president Leon Rose doesn't bring back interim head coach Mike Miller as his head coach next month, Thibodeau will be among the candidates who get consideration.
Last month, agents and other coaches with a vested interest in the Knicks' coaching search said they believed Thibodeau is the most likely hire if Rose decides not to retain Miller. Rose and Thibodeau have a close relationship.
Rose, of course, developed relationships with many coaches during his time as a top player agent at CAA. To name a few: Jeff Van Gundy, John Calipari and Mike Woodson.
So Thibodeau probably won't be the only coach Rose & Co. interview.
Rose and the Knicks haven't started the interview process yet. That will likely be on hold until the NBA regular season concludes or is canceled.
The Knicks reportedly may have competition for Thibodeau. The New York Post reported that Houston and Brooklyn also have interest in him.
People with knowledge of Thibodeau's past thinking believe that he'd put the Knicks at the top of his list if multiple teams pursue him.
Thibodeau, according to sources, was open to coaching the Knicks in the 2016 offseason without the title of team president. Then-Knicks president Phil Jackson didn't contact Thibodeau, a former Knicks assistant. Thibodeau eventually took a job as team president and head coach with Minnesota. Thibodeau said on the Woj Pod that he'd have no interest in assuming the dual role of coach and team president again.
For more on Thibodeau's background and his reflections on his time in Chicago and Minnesota, check out the podcast or this article about a previous interview he did with ESPN's First Take in which he touched on those topics.