‘I never feel pressure’ – The Denver Post


On the heels of James Dolan publicly declaring his playoff expectations for this season, Knicks’ coach Tom Thibodeau said he doesn’t feel pressure to reach the owner’s goal.

“I never feel pressure because I know what I put into each day,” Thibodeau said. “I think anybody who puts everything they have into each day, you never feel pressure.”

Dolan told WFAN on Friday that he “fully expects” the Knicks to reach the playoffs and “that will definitely be a benchmark.” Left unsaid was what would occur if the Knicks fail, but coaches are often the first on the chopping block when an owner is displeased.

“He owns the team. Whatever these expectations are, that’s what the expectations are,” Dolan said. “That doesn’t change how I feel. What I think. I believe in our team. I believe in work. And I believe if we’re doing the right thing, good things will happen.”

The Knicks entered Saturday in the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference, which would require a victory in the play-in tournament for a playoff appearance. After a surprising run to the fourth seed in 2021, the Knicks bombed last season and finished 11th.

“I never worry about that stuff. Hey look, for me, I look at (Dolan) as — is he giving us everything we need to be successful? Yes,” Thibodeau said. “So, go out there and give him everything we have. Hopefully, we have the team that does that, so we want him to have belief in the team. I think that’s good.”

Thibodeau has maintained communication with Dolan throughout the season, often speaking with the 67-year-old after home games. Dolan said his agreement with Thibodeau and team president Leon Rose regarding personnel decisions is “I get to speak, and their deal is they don’t have to listen to me.”

“I’m not going to share every private conversation but I think it’s good for us to have communication,” Thibodeau added. “For us, we have to have to lay out the plan and we want him to understand, and we want him to support what we’re doing but we should be able to give him the reasons why we feel a certain way.”

Dolan’s Knicks have made the playoffs just five times in the last 22 years, a stretch of futility that has pushed the franchise to punchline status. Thibodeau has a better winning percentage than 11 of the 12 previous Knicks coaches, with Mike Woodson as the lone exception.

“I think every owner [has expectations],” Thibodeau said. “That’s pro sports. He’s not saying anything any other owner wouldn’t say. You have to have a belief in your team. And we have belief.”



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