If you’re a Knicks fan, maybe you woke up on Saturday thinking about possible playoff matchups for your team. Or Julius Randle’s case for Most Improved Player. Or how everyone’s underestimated RJ Barrett.
It’s totally understandable if you are full of optimism after the Knicks, behind Randle and Barrett, beat Dallas on the road Friday for their fifth straight win.
But you shouldn’t expect Tom Thibodeau to spend time thinking about any of those things.
One of the driving factors behind the Knicks’ surprising success under Thibodeau has been their constant focus on the task ahead of them.
So Thibodeau probably woke up on Saturday thinking about Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball and the Pelicans.
“We try not to get wrapped up in any of that stuff,” Thibodeau said late Friday when asked about his team’s five-game winning streak. “…. If we’re taking care of all the little things, the big things will take care of themselves. Just stack good days. We want to have good practice days, we want to have good shootarounds, we want to play our best in games, we want to learn each day and we want to keep getting better.
“I think that we have a belief that we can win. That’s probably the most important thing, and it started that way in the beginning. And it doesn’t really matter what outside people think, it’s what we think.”
When Thibodeau says the Knicks believe they can win, it may sound like a cliché. But if you’ve watched this team all year, you know that the confidence of this group is real.