Isiah Thomas: Knicks need to improve role players

Then-Knicks coach Isiah Thomas watches from the bench

Then-Knicks coach Isiah Thomas watches from the bench as his team plays the Indiana Pacers in the first half of a game in Indianapolis. (Credit: AP, 2008)

MIAMI - Isiah Thomas thinks the Knicks had a great season and they need to develop their role players to be as efficient and complementary as some of the Spurs' secondary guys.

Thomas, the former Knicks executive and coach, is working for NBA TV and was at Game 6 of the Spurs-Heat series Tuesday night. He praised Spurs guard Danny Green and said the Knicks should look at him and San Antonio as the model.

"You got to keep improving," Thomas said. "If watching this series has shown us anything, your role players can get better every year. Right now if the Knicks are going to improve it's going to have to be through the draft and through the development of their role players and even some of their core players."

Thomas said Carmelo Anthony was "one of the most improved players" on the Knicks. But he added they lacked someone who could contain Indiana's Roy Hibbert in the conference semifinals. Tyson Chandler struggled against Hibbert.

"I thought the Knicks had a great year, I really do," Thomas said. "They won the Atlantic Division. They got eliminated by now what we know is a much better Indiana team than everybody really gave credit to. I thought Hibbert was the difference in the series . . . He became the best center in the East and I think he was the difference in the series."

Thomas said he didn't attend any Knicks' game this season. The former FIU coach got his masters in education from UC Berkeley. He said he speaks to fellow Indiana alums and friends Mike Woodson and Glen Grunwald often. "It's safe to say that we all have the same basketball philosophy," Thomas said. "When I speak to them we don't talk basketball in terms of strategy."

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