Tom Thibodeau is bringing to the Knicks a reputation of overworking his players, a knock that was ignited and perpetuated at his previous stops in Chicago and Minnesota.
On his first official day with the Knicks on Thursday, Thibodeau explained why his starters were given heavy minutes. His logic was simple: Since the opposing team’s best players most frequently play a wing position and are almost always on the court, Thibodeau used his best options at those positions (Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins) to counter.
“When you look at the league and see the load management that’s going on, it’s more positional based. You look back five years you see Lebron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, the late Kobe Bryant, those guys were all playing 35 minutes,” Thibodeau said. “They’d be matched up with Jimmy butler, Luol Deng, they’d be guarding them.
“So if their stars go out, our guys would go out. If they go back in, they go back in.”