Tom Thibodeau doing deep dive into Knicks as coach decision looms

While five of the Knicks’ 11 coaching candidates are in the Orlando bubble game-planning for the NBA restart, others such as Tom Thibodeau are waiting on Knicks president Leon Rose’s decision a different way.

Thibodeau, considered the leading candidate, is passing away the time poring over Knicks game film as he awaits a possible job offer, according to an NBA source.

It is characteristic of Thibodeau, known for having his teams as well-prepared as any coach.

It’s known one of the things that most intrigues Thibodeau about coaching the Knicks roster is molding young shot-blocking center Mitchell Robinson into an even better defensive player.

A decision probably will come next week as interviews have been completed, but owner James Dolan still must be consulted and sign off on it. It has been six weeks — and countless hours of interviews — since the Knicks began the search.

Thibodeau’s second interview lasted three hours as did those of many others. That’s plenty of time to talk philosophy — as the 62-year-old did on a recent podcast hosted by ex-Bull and current player agent B.J. Armstrong.

Tom ThibodeauGetty Images

When asked how his experience helps him with players, Thibodeau said, “You go back to your past — being around people who have done great things. At Team USA. I’ve worked with Doc Rivers, Jeff Van Gundy, Brendan Malone, not just great head coaches but assistants and great college coaches.

“The thing that stood out being around [Mike Krzyzewski], Jim Boeheim and [Team USA managing director] Jerry Colangelo, these are Hall of Fame guys who still wanted to do great things and be driven and wanted to learn. They don’t want to stay the same.’’

The defensive maven also was asked about his offensive philosophy in the new age. The former Bulls/Timberwolves coach said it’s not just flinging 3-pointers.

“The game never stays the game — it’s always evolving,’’ Thibodeau said. “What wins still goes back to who you are as a player and what you do well. If you’re a great 3-point shooter, you try to get as many of those shots as you can. If you’re a good driver, get in the restricted area. A guy like [Jimmy] Butler, when we got him to Minnesota, I knew we’d have a great offense because of his penetration and decision-making and his very high-percentage shots.

“It’s playing to your strengths and playing smart. You want to shoot a high-volume shots like the corner 3. It’s how do you create those shots. Figuring out what your players do well and finding a system that will work effectively for them gives you the best chance of winning.”

In his last season in Minnesota in 2018-19, Thibodeau’s team averaged 28.7 3-point attempts — middle of the pack.

“What gets misconstrued, if you take the wrong shots, low-percentage shots, it compromises your defense,’’ Thibodeau said. “It’s not the high volume [of 3’s]. It’s the efficiency of the high volume.”