Just one year removed from a storied season where he lead the New York Knicks back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013, head coach Tom Thibodeau is on the hot seat.
There’s speculation mounting that he could be let go before the season’s finish, and with only 20 games to go, that’d certainly be quite the accomplishment.
That sentiment’s certainly endorsed by Knicks fans, who’ve interpreted this latest Instagram story from Immanuel Quickley as a sign of change to come:
Next to the New York guard is assistant coach Johnnie Bryant, who would presumably be the next man up in any instance where Tom Thibodeau is given the boot.
Knicks Fans React to Quickley’s Story
Johnnie Bryant’s certainly the fan-favorite for head coach if that was to ever play into the New York Knicks’ decision.
That much is apparent based on the responses to Immanuel Quickley’s story.
Fan @SOUL_GIFTED on Twitter went as far as making the assumption that he’ll replace Thibodeau in any circumstance:
As did so many, many more:
While other fans like @KnickWitAtitude took the opportunity to make note of Bryant’s presence on the sideline during timeouts, as displayed in Quickley’s post:
Whether the New York Knicks front office is ready to move on from Tom Thibodeau or not remains unclear.
But ironically, it’s Immanuel Quickley who remains at the center of the fan’s desires for a change. And it goes far beyond his latest social media activity.
Thibs Maintains Burks Endorsement
Thibodeau’s comments on the point guard rotation following New York’s loss to the 76ers that set social media ablaze on Wednesday night.
That’s the best we have, so that’s what we’re doing, and they’re capable. … (I’m) more concerned about our defense than our offense. We scored plenty of points.
It seems the head coach has opted to keep digging, despite finding himself at the center of a Manhattan-sized hole.
Alec Burks finished Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers with nine points and four assists on two-for-11 shooting from the field and one-for-four shooting from deep.
It’s the latest in a string of poor shooting performances as the 11-year veteran struggles being played out of position at starting point guard.
According to Basketball Reference’s Play-by-Play tracker, Burks’ 403 minutes at point guard this season are his most spent at the position since 2011.
The result has been a stagnant Knicks offense, with the veteran’s hesitance or impatience with his inexperience running an offense flashing every other possession.
Thibodeau said on February 23rd that upon digging into the numbers, he’d concluded that Burks was the team’s best option at point guard.
Yet lineups with the 30-year old at point guard have been some of the team’s worst this season, and analytically, don’t stack up well with the rest of the league.
Per Cleaning the Glass, in the 1,024 possesions the Knicks have played with Burks at point guard, they’re scoring 108.7 points per 100 possesions and allowing 114.1 points per on defense.
Those numbers rank in the 29th and 27th percentiles respectively; incredibly poor.
But with Immanuel Quickley in at point guard and Alec Burks off the floor, New York is scoring 110.5 points per 100 possessions and allowing just 108.3 per on defense.
That’s a climb into the 41st and 77th percentiles, with only 497 possessions recorded this season.
Given that context, it’s easy to understand the fan’s frustrations.
With only 20 games remaining to a season that’s all-but lost, it’s become a war between the fans and the New York Knicks head coach over what should be prioritized down the stretch.
And given that they’ve no long-term answer at point guard in one of the league’s worst offenses, it’s entirely likely that the fans will come out on top in this one.
But even if they don’t, trust that they won’t go down without being heard. That much will always ring true for the Madison Square Garden faithful.