It came as no surprise when Tom Thibodeau’s first practice as coach of the New York Knicks ran past its scheduled end time.
Thibodeau, the gruff but respected tactician who previously coached the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves, led his first practice Wednesday with his new team in New York. He was hired in July to replace interim coach Mike Miller, who took over for David Fizdale early last season.
“Usually the first day there’s teaching that goes on,” Thibodeau said. “It was a good first day, in terms of what we were able to get accomplished.”
The 62-year-old Thibodeau posted a 352-246 record in his previous stints with Chicago and Minnesota. He also has 24 playoff victories, and the Knicks hope that he can help the franchise return to respectability or better.
The Knicks’ roster still could change depending on the draft and free agency, but Thibodeau said he was focused on the players in front of him.
“I think that’s a big challenge in the NBA: How quickly can you adapt?” Thibodeau said. “Because things always change in the league — whether it’s trade, free agency, an injury, you have to adapt quickly.
“So for us, the focus has to be on the guys who are here. And that’s what we’re doing. Every day we’re thinking about how we can improve as a team and how we can improve individually, and we want that to be our focus.
“We want to stack days together. We know it starts with fundamentals. We have to build that base, and then we’ll take it from there.”