Which NBA Draft prospects would work greatest underneath Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau?


Tom Thibodeau Treated Art 2
Tom Thibodeau Handled Artwork 2

There are in all probability dozens of things that groups account for when evaluating draft picks. Considered one of them is that this: Is he an excellent match for the pinnacle coach?

The Knicks will certainly think about that issue as they type by means of situations forward of the NBA Draft.

So which one of many draft-eligible gamers would match properly with Tom Thibodeau?

To assist reply that query, we reached out to Paul Biancardi.

Because the nationwide basketball recruiting director for ESPN, Biancardi is aware of the home gamers on this draft in addition to anybody. He’s adopted lots of them years earlier than they turned draft-eligible.

Biancardi additionally performed for Thibodeau at Salem State. He was Thibodeau’s group captain as a senior.

So Biancardi has an excellent perspective on which gamers would match properly with Thibodeau.

“Clearly he needs a competitor, any person who’s going to embrace growth and never keep away from being within the health club,” Biancardi says. “So these issues (are essential), together with the expertise that the Knicks have to elevate their franchise.”



Isaac Okoro to me is a man who actually suits properly. He is a defensive-minded participant. He is elite on the defensive finish,” Biancardi says. “He is an NBA change defender proper now in an NBA physique. And that brings loads of worth as a result of everyone knows you want stops within the league to get out in transition after which get into your half courtroom set. You possibly can’t be taking the ball out of the online.

“Okoro actually brings, I feel, a Tom Thibodeau-like mindset to the sport. He is an okay shooter. We all know that he has to enhance his three-point shot. But when he can get his three-point capturing to the mid-thirties and be that elite on ball defender (he’ll thrive). Additionally, he’s a man that may chase folks off screens, muscle within the submit, hold the ball out of the lane. I like Okoro quite a bit for Tom and the Knicks at 8. He brings elite athleticism, he’s an elite defender.”


“(Haliburton is on) the opposite finish of the spectrum (from Okoro). A high-IQ man, a 6-foot-6 playmaker. I do not see the Knicks with a degree guard, together with his capability to make selections, with measurement and IQ. And he could make the skin shot. Haliburton can also play in a multi-dimensional three-guard lineup.

“So I do know you will have Dennis Smith and another guys. (Haliburton) can play on and off the ball. He would not want the ball in his palms, however he makes nice selections. Any person has to make nice selections for the coach out on the courtroom. I feel Haliburton is that man.”


“I’ve had an opportunity to look at LaMelo Ball since he was a freshman at Chino Hills Excessive College,” Biancardi says. “I feel he is probably the most gifted participant within the draft. He is the most effective playmaker within the draft. He is the most effective decision-maker (within the draft). (He’s) a superb passer together with his elite positional measurement. I feel he actually enjoys being within the health club.

“Now I do not assume he enjoys taking part in protection very a lot, however I feel he loves being within the health club and I feel he likes to play and that is essential for any coach. And I feel if he may ever get to New York, that may be a grand slam. Now, clearly he’d have to evolve on the defensive finish, however that has to occur wherever he goes. He is bought to be extra dedicated to the protection finish and the defensive group strategy to issues. However offensively, ooh, it is onerous to seek out higher than LaMelo Ball on this draft.” 


“Protection is all about wish to. We are able to speak all day about athleticism and measurables, however if you wish to turn out to be an important defender, you will be,” Biancardi says. “And LaMelo Ball will be a superb defender. So if he’s prepared and he embraces educating and protection, his inventory would undergo the roof with Thibs.”


“Florida State discovered him in a again health club, as a sophomore in highschool. No person knew about him….They bought him, they developed him,” Biancardi says. “(FSU coach) Leonard Hamilton teaches protection and so they’re very dedicated to it down there at Florida State. So I feel Vassell would are available in on the defensive finish and be comfy. Offensively, he provides you a shooter and he provides you some good measurement, an important athlete.

“An excellent match at No. 8. He is unknown within the draft circles when it comes to previous to Florida State. No person talked about him in highschool. He wasn’t on my board, high-school rankings sensible. Even within the school sport, he did not actually burst out on the scene till possibly this final yr of Florida State. However I feel he is a keeper. And I feel he’ll be within the league for a very long time.”



“Nicely, to begin with, this draft is totally different, proper. The yr 2020 has been totally different in loads of methods,” Biancardi says. “After we take a look at the highest, all of us speak about LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards – these guys are bonafide NBA starters, or they need to be. Will they turn out to be All Stars? There is a good probability, however there isn’t any ensures.

“However then there are such a lot of good gamers that would turn out to be starters and possibly All-Stars. And that is why this draft to me is basically thrilling. And it is primarily based in your analysis and your intel and also you’re at 27 and a man that basically I take into consideration for Tom and for the Knicks – I do not know if he’ll be there – however Jahmi’us Ramsey from Texas Tech. He was in my ESPN Prime 50. In actual fact, he moved method up as he bought older within the sport. 6-4, 6-10 wingspan, loves to protect, performed for Chris Beard. I feel that is essential. We talked about Florida state and Leonard Hamilton. Chris Beard, these guys do not simply preach protection. They train it, they emphasize it and so they will not take something lower than a big-time effort defensively. And Jahmi’us Ramsey shot it at 42% from three. So, you understand he can put it within the gap. He’s actually good remoted one-on-one. If he’s round at 27, I wouldn’t hesitate.”


“One other man that I like that is not possibly as gifted as Jahmi’us Ramsey, however he will get it achieved and he is productive, is Isaiah Stewart at Washington. He can go wherever from 15-to-30. He is slightly under-sized, however boy, can he rebound, can he display screen. And he can rating the ball higher than we noticed at Washington. I like Isaiah Stewart or Jahmi’us Ramsey in the event that they’re round at 27.”


“Completely. Undoubtedly, I’m so excited for faculty basketball this yr for these guys as freshmen, after which a few of the greatest gamers did not even go to varsity. As we all know, they went to the G League. Jaylen Inexperienced in my thoughts, could be a high 3 decide on this yr’s draft. That’s how good he’s. He turned the G league high recruit. After which there’s Evan Mobley. He is 6-10, slightly bit like James Wiseman, however not as thick however lengthy, cellular, expert, rather more expert than Wiseman, offensively. Not the shot-blocker that Wiseman is, however extra expert. And he is at USC.

“After which Cade Cunningham. He is a 6-7 play-maker, decision-maker. Powerful, robust dude on each ends of the ground from Oklahoma State. These three guys come to thoughts straight away. They’d in all probability be within the high three or 5 gamers on this yr’s draft.

“After which it goes deeper than that. There’s in all probability 10-to-15 respectable one-and-done guys in 2021. So in case you have draft picks in subsequent yr’s draft, that is good. For those who do not, attempt to commerce and get some as a result of it is actually gifted, it is actually deep. And it’s actually athletic and versatile. It is the most effective class that I’ve seen popping out of the highschool sport within the final 5 or 10 years.”


“That is not occurring with Tom Thibodeau (laughs). I’ll inform you that proper now. I am going to go throughout New York and say that man goes to attempt to win every section, every quarter of each sport. He’s going to attempt to win each sport and he’ll construct that confidence. He’ll construct that competitiveness as a result of that is what you want as a baseline to take that subsequent step. Ultimately, the Knicks will get extra gifted. I feel they’re one of many youngest groups within the NBA.

“You’ve bought an important instructor, you have bought an important coach who’s all the time ready and who cares. So if folks in New York will be affected person – and I am unsure that it’s going to occur (laughs) – in case you’re affected person, you have bought the most effective coach, you have bought the precise coach, and now you need to construct the roster and you have nice management with Leon Rose and the employees that Tom Thibodeau has. I am actually excited. I’m a Boston Celtics fan and I am excited concerning the New York Knicks – how about that?”



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