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Jimmy Butler knows what Tom Thibodeau can do for the Knicks’ core



Jimmy Butler sounds ready for yet another reunion with Tom Thibodeau.

After playing under the new Knicks coach in Chicago and Minnesota, Butler – who has credited Thibodeau with his development from late end of first round to five-time All-Star – said he believes the young core of RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson could make similar progress with Thibodeau’s teachings.

“He wants to do well. He wants to make these young guys some real players; some superstars, some All-Stars, ”Butler said of Thibodeau. “I know he’s been scratched by this. I know he’s prepared for it. When you talk about Thibs and the big stage, I think they go hand in hand. “

After four seasons together in Chicago ̵

1; where Butler went from an average of two points per. Fight as a rookie to 20 points in 2014-15 – Thibodeau, as coach and president of basketball operations, brought Butler to Minnesota in a trade in 2017. That season, the pair helped produce the Timberwolves’ first playoff appearance in 14 years.

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Tom Thibodeau and Jimmy ButlerAP Photo

Nevertheless, Butler’s accident with the team led to a trade request before the next training camp, leading to Thibodeau’s firing midway through his third season as coach. After landing in Philadelphia, Butler accepted blame for how the situation unfolded.

“I take all the blame. I’m sure he also says he will take it, “Butler said last year. “But as I tell everyone, Thibs is a big part – and you can tell I smile because it’s the truth – of who I am today as a player. He gave me an opportunity after not letting me play my first few years at all. But then he saw something in me and he let me rock a little. “

Distance, however, made Butler’s heart grow. Last year, Butler also acknowledged the challenge of playing for the famous intense coach, suggesting that the style is better suited to college basketball.

“Hell, yes, it’s different,” Butler said. “[Butler’s former coach] Buzz Williams, who’s a lot like Thibs in the sense that they want to yell at you, they go to morph – you, they want to say it all, that’s how they talk to you. I think in the league you can not really talk to anyone like that. You know what I mean?”




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