Jamal Crawford seems to have found his calling with his NBA days now behind him. After electrifying crowds with his ball-handling and scoring in arenas for 20 seasons, he is now doing the same off the court.
Crawford has been an analyst on television and now has a mailbag series on NBA.com where he answers wide-ranging questions. Most of them are basketball-related, but he will sometimes answer something about everyday life, such as cooking in his most recent one.
One of the questions he was asked this week was about the ideal size of a basketball rotation. He used his experience as an NBA player and as the coach of a kids team to provide an in-depth answer. Most NBA teams use nine or 10 guys in the regular season and we will see that cut down to sometimes seven in the playoffs.
The question asked was directly about New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau is notorious for using tight, nine-man rotations during the regular season. We have also seen him drop to eight in some circumstances.
It is a strategy that has come under fire at times, as people are concerned that he is running his players into the ground. The person was curious about the pros and cons of the tight rotation, which Crawford used as a way to heap praise on his former head coach. Crawford played one season under Thibodeau, in 2017-18 when he helped the Minnesota Timberwolves snap their 13-year playoff drought.
“I coach kids and I’ve had 12- and 11-player rotations, and to me, that was too many. I have nine this year and I feel like it’s the perfect number to get guys into a rhythm while not wearing them out.
Thibs notoriously plays his starters heavily. On the other end of that, bench guys like me didn’t get as many minutes. But one thing I’m never going to do is question Thibs. Out of all the coaches I ever played for, there was nobody more prepared than him. So he has his beliefs and philosophies. But you just roll with it and support him if you’re a player,” Crawford wrote.
Thibodeau has earned a lot of praise for the work he has done as a head coach. His style of coaching is based on hard-nosed defense and with the Knicks, he has shown more willingness to adapt his philosophies to fit the modern NBA.
It has resulted in the Knicks turning things around under his watch. For years, they were a bottom-feeding franchise and laughingstock of the NBA. In Year 4 of his tenure in New York, many people are expecting the team to continue ascending the Eastern Conference standings on the cusp of being a contender.
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