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How Randle & Thibodeau Have Transformed the New York Knicks



How Randle & Thibodeau Have Transformed the New York Knicks

The revival of the New York Knicks has been one of the stories of the NBA season. After a seven-year play-off drought, the Manhattan-based team finished the regular season as the fourth-ranked team in the Eastern Conference to book their spot in the post-season schedule. Their final game 96-92 win at the Boston Celtics, as covered by, also locked in home advantage in the first round of the play-offs. So, how did they do it?

Players Who Have Stepped Up

With key players taking their game to a new level under a coach who many had written off, the Knicks have defied all the pre-season odds to force their way back into the elite. They now face the task of consolidating their position as a rejuvenated force in the NBA.

One player who has taken a massive step up is Julius Randle who has hit career-high stats in points (24.1), rebounds (10.2), assists (6), 3-point percentage (41.1), and turnovers (3.4). He also landed the Knicks’ first 30-point triple-double score since Carmelo Anthony’s effort way back in 2012. Randle has been rewarded with his first All-Star selection and has been widely lauded as the Most Improved Player as well as a candidate for Most Valuable Player – although that award will almost certainly end up in the hands of Nikola Jokic.

RJ Barrett also increased his numbers, building on his solid rookie campaign to emerge as the perfect foil for Randle. Knicks’ fans will hope the pair can head a long-term revival backed by other emerging young talent such as rookie point guard Immanuel Quickley.

A Coach with Something to Prove

All of this has been achieved under the guidance of Coach Tom Thibodeau who previously worked as an assistant at the Knicks from 1996 to 2004 before taking head coaching roles at the Bulls and the Timberwolves. After being released by the latter, his reputation took a hit but he has quickly proved his critics wrong by turning around the fortunes of a team that had been written off before the season even began. Thibodeau has brought his trademark defensive efficiency to the team, creating a strong platform to build on.

How Far Can They Go?

In terms of their Championship chances, they are still way down the pecking order so those looking to bet on the Knicks will still get huge prices. At the end of the regular season, they were priced as low as +2200 and as high as +6000 to win the Eastern Conference finals with different bookmakers, while their NBA Championship prices ranged from +6000 to +10000. There are plenty of other betting markets available, as detailed at where you can also find information on how to wager effectively on the NBA.

Many are predicting the Championship crown to head across the river to Brooklyn, where the Nets are also enjoying a new lease of life having achieved their highest regular-season finish since 2004. Of course, they invested heavily to get to this point as reported in, while the Knicks have had to hustle their way back to the top.

There is a lot of game-time still to be played and whatever happens during the course of the play-offs, Thibodeau has already exceeded all expectations. However, it may still be a little early to declare that the Knicks are back for the long-term.