It was Nov 22. 2014, when the Bulls title hopes ended. I remember the questions following the injury to Derrick Rose’s knee. Will the Bulls make the playoffs? Will they tank? Should they trade Rose? Next came the rumors, Thibs is not happy in Chicago, Knicks will land Thibs this offseason. After the dust has settled, an injury to a superstar, the trading of the “glue guy”, and multiple injuries later the Chicago Bulls sit tied for the 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference. A spot that many thought they could be in even with a fully healthy roster. Given the fact that Indy has sort of risen in the East and of course there is always the Miami Heat. Chicago seems to be right around where they should be.
There are multiple reasons why, with just 5 games left in the season the Bulls have already tied last years win total at 45. All but assuring them to better their previous record and a possible 50 win season. Reasons of D.J. Augustin playing like a starter, Jo playing MVP type basketball, or Taj playing out of his mind and a legit candidate for Sixth Man of the Year honors. Sure these are all great reasons, but non greater than Tom Thibodeau. They biggest asset the Bulls have.
Year after year this man has taken this team of gritty, hard-nosed, heart hustle and muscle guys, and made them winners. He is a guy that I could name 29 other teams in the NBA that would pay top dollar for. What he has done in the past is impressive, already earning himself COY honors in 2010-11 season. That with a healthy Rose and supporting cast, leading them to the best record in the NBA and a trip to the ECF. But this year, with all that this team has had to endure with the trade of Deng, or the injury to Derrick. Along with the rumors and talk of tanking, Thibs has shown why he not only should be COY. But also, referred to as the best coach in the league.
February 9th seems to be the turning point in the Bulls season. After beating the Lakers 92-86 the Bulls have gone on to win 21 of their last 28 games. Beating the likes of Houston, Indy, Golden State, and of course everyone’s favorite enemy, the Miami Heat. Talks of Thibs having the inability to run a high-powered offense came to life, yet, they have managed to score above 90 points in 21 of the last 28. A feat that they only accomplished 28 times in the first 49 games. Defensively the Bulls rank the 2 best defensive team in the NBA. Which goes almost without saying with the name Tom Thibodeau attached to your team.
You take away any other team’s superstar and/or glue guy and tell me they still have a shot at being a three seed in their respective conference and I will call you crazy. All of this doesn’t happen with the one piece that holds the puzzle together. Now I ask you, does Thibs deserve Coach of the Year honors?
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