Tom Thibodeau has accumulated a reputation as a taskmaster and a hardman through his years in the NBA, but Julius Randle begs to differ.
The former Bulls head coach is primarily responsible for the implementation of modern help defense schemes in the NBA. Doc Rivers allowed him free rein in Boston to help create perhaps the best defense of the 2000s other than the mid-00s Pistons.
Tom Thibodeau has since been voted Coach of the Year during his time with the Chicago Bulls. His time at Minnesota with the Timberwolves was a bummer, but he’s since redeemed his reputation by returning solely to coaching.
Dropping front office headaches from his profile has brought the best out of Thibs. Thibodeau has rejuvenated the Knicks franchise in partnership with Leon Rose.
Julius Randle has broken out as one of the NBA’s most versatile forwards, evolving his skills to the next level. Tom Thibodeau has helped to unlock his true potential, and Randle is much the better for it.
Julius Randle reveals that Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau really is a softy at heart
The former Lakers draft pick appeared on the JJ Redick podcast last season as the Knicks were on the upswing. They’d rallied to 4th position on the Eastern Conference table by the time Randle became Redick’s podcast guest.
Speaking about the influence of Tom Thibodeau on his game, Randle was effusive in his praise for the 63-year-old who broke his engagement off in college because he wanted to dedicate his life to basketball:
“We go about practice a certain way, we go about shootarounds and stuff a certain way. And I respect it and I appreciate it. Because we’re seeing the results of the habits that we created early, throughout the season. So it’s dope for me.”
“And honestly, man, he’s not as much of a harda** as people think he is, bro! The dude is super cool bro, like, when you’re talking to him. He’ll kill me when he sees this but he really is soft, man! You can talk to him, Thibs is dope, bro.”
Coach Thibs a softy at heart? It definitely didn’t seem to be the case from the outside looking in.