Former All-Star shares concerns of potential Knicks burnout
New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Former All-Star shares concerns of potential Knicks burnout

The New York Knicks secured a win over the Indiana Pacers in the opening game of their second-round series. Jalen Brunson once again proved himself to be the difference-maker. However, head coach Tom Thibodeau continues to operate with a shortened rotation, playing just seven players heavy minutes.

During an exclusive interview, former NBA All-Star Roy Hibbert expressed his concern to me that the Knicks could burn out if they progress deeper into the playoffs.

"I’m worried about the longevity of the Knicks with only playing seven players with Tibbs, but he has those guys locked in," Hibbert said.  

Thibodeau is missing one of his core rotation players. Julius Randle has been ruled out for the season due to injury. Had he been available, the veteran head coach may have stuck with an eight-man rotation, which is fairly standard for the postseason.

Nevertheless, the Knicks are finding ways to win. Their stringent brand of defense is stifling their opponents. New York is controlling the temp of games. OG Anunoby's addition has made them a fearsome defensive unit that can look impenetrable at times. The Pacers must find a way to take control of the tempo if they're going to make an impact on the series.

Of course, the key to overcoming New York is finding ways to limit Brunson's influence on the game. You can either shut down the role players around him or force him to shoot tougher shots. That's where fatigue can come into play and potentially hurt New York's ability to remain competitive. 

If the Knicks can sustain their heavy workload and Brunson continues his current production, Thibodeau could lead his team into the Eastern Conference Finals, where they could potentially face the Boston Celtics. 

It's unlikely New York could overcome Boston this season, but it would be proof of the progress the franchise is making. Of course, whenever the Knicks are eventually eliminated, questions will be asked about Thibodeau's minutes management and the strain it puts on his stars. 

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