Even though Julius Randle produced a very strong season this past year, at times he fell to injury when his team needed him the most. To deal with a lingering ankle issue, he underwent surgery in June and is still recovering from the procedure.
However, according to his coach Tim Thibodeau, he should be ready for the start of the next campaign. “Just steady progress. He’s had a very good offseason. He’ll be fresh and ready to go,” he said this weekend.
This perfectly falls into place for the Knicks trainer, who guarantees that ‘continuity’ will be key for another successful season starting next month. New York won 47 matches last year and climbed from 11th place before the February trade deadline, and ended up fifth in the Eastern Conference.
Check out some of the team’s best highlights from the 2022/23 campaign, which saw them qualify for the playoffs for the second time since Thibodeau is at the helm:
During a recent NBA coaching meeting in Chicago, the Knicks trainer explained why respecting his process has resulted in better performances throughout the years.
“Continuity’s important, and we’re going into Year 4. We’re young – that’s the best thing about our team, that you can continue to get better. We’re looking forward to the development of the guys we do have. Getting the experience from last year was very beneficial to us, but we have to understand it’s a new year and we start over again. Adding Donte [DiVincenzo] is great for us. He’s a great team guy and he’ll fit in seamlessly,” he said.
Thibodeau is well aware that the way to the top has been full of mistakes, but guarantees that learning from them has been key to New York’s growth.
“Trial and error is a big part of learning so the more experience you get in big games the better it is for you,” the trainer assured. “I’ve seen the growth from two years ago – you take every experience and move it forward. Now when you go into the offseason, you’re preparing for them and that’s a great motivator.”
Thibodeau also praised the fact that both Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart spent the summer playing for Team USA and will add that experience next season
Several of Knicks players appeared this summer in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, including Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart for Team USA, just as RJ Barrett did for Canada. Coach Thibodeau believes this will only improve the mentality within the locker room.
“I think it’s great for younger guys when you look at the history with the Olympics, the World Cup and Team USA. When Derrick Rose came back, that year he won the MVP. He was 22 years old. The fact that it’s a different style, I like that too, because you’re adapting. You can learn from playing that way and playing against international players. It allows you to hit the ground running in training camp, too,” he explained.
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The veteran coach listed a number of advatanges from having part of his roster compete during the offseason, especially due to the basketball quality in this past FIBA international tournament.
“The benefits far outweigh whatever negatives there might be,” he assured. “No one is being taxed to the point where he’s playing 40 minutes. You’re playing roughly half a game. And every player on your team is a great player, so you’re practicing against the best. And doing things you probably wouldn’t be doing in the summer. Yeah, you’d be shooting, you’d be conditioning, but you probably wouldn’t be playing.”