It’s hard to believe that anyone feels safe as a head coach in the NBA these days. Tom Thibodeau was just fired from his job as head coach of the Chicago Bulls, despite the fact that he had won almost 65% of his games since he began his tenure. This was just the last of many firings that seem ludicrous on the surface in recent years. Let’s examine it, shall we:
Tom Thibodeau – Chicago Bulls (2010 – 2015): 255 – 139, .647
This baffles me, since he is one of the best coaches out there. Their defense improved drastically under him, giving up 8PPG fewer once he took over, leading them to first place the East, and 62 wins. The team overachieved under his tenure, as he seemed to get more out of his roster than what was expected. In a league where super stars succeed, he did more with Derrick Rose than anyone could have imagined, making him a star. But the fact is, when he’s an often injured, worried about his post-NBA days type player, he perhaps isn’t even a superstar, but a glorified one.
That being said, Thibs played with the cards he was dealt and reeled off win after win after win. This season, his team was supposed to do better, but, alas, they once again lost to the team that has the league’s best player. LeBron James is going back to the finals for the fifth consecutive season, coincidentally the same amount of seasons Thibodeau has coached. And the fans thought they had him. They were up in that series, and lost. Coupled with the fact that they saw Atlanta as a lame duck, and they believe they are a coach away from winning it all. Which makes me laugh (primarily because I’m NOT a a Bulls fan), as they are now going to try and build upon a team with Rose (again), who will get hurt, Noah, who really regressed, Gasol, who at 34 may not have much time left, and Jimmy Butler, who, before this season, really didn’t do much, and reminds me of a slightly better DeMar Derozan.
And now, with the rumor of Fred Hoiberg becoming coach, it’s just another Reinsdorf sign that he only hires people who have played for him or he likes to coach his teams. It’s like hiring your buddy to be a bartender at your bar, but he doesn’t necessarily have the steadiest hand or is still looking up drinks as he makes them. But, because he knows you, it’s all okay.
So go ahead, Chicago, get your new coach. That will change EVERYTHING for you. Your team will suddenly remember how to score, and will continue to play stellar defense. Because it was the talent that was perfect, just not the coach. With Lebron still in the East, plus the Hawks with more togetherness, and the Wizards building, and the Bucks getting even better, and the Pacers back to being healthy, and the Celtics continuing upwards, and the Raptors (hopefully) learning their lesson and building, I see the Bulls trending downward. Look at Spoelstra in Miami, and what happened when his superstar left. He looks average and overmatched.
In the NBA , you need superstars to win, and the Bulls have none. But they don’t have a good coach now either, so they should really fall back down to earth, as they are now, and probably struggle to make the playoffs.