Tom Thibodeau is the fastest coach to 100 career regular season wins, he has the 12th greatest winning percentage at .657 with a career record of 205-107. Thibodeau has taken the Bulls to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, but it hasn’t resulted in any championships or NBA Finals appearances.
Thibodeau is 56-years-old without any patience, he wants to win now.
But does his win now attitude help or hurt the Bulls? Is he a one-sided coach like George Karl? Does he run his players into the ground like Dusty Baker? Is he a great coach that players sour on like Larry Brown? What do we know about Thibs?
When you Google “Tom Thibodeau family,” “Tom Thibodeau wife,” “Tom Thibodeau girlfriend,” the search results are “Tom Thibodeau’s social life is worse than yours,” “Bulls and Basketball an Obsession for Thibodeau” and “Tom Thibodeau coaches after father’s funeral.”
During Thibodeau’s four year tenure, his opponent’s points per game ranks 2nd, 1st, 3rd and 1st. Since 2010, no other team has been in the top 3 in points against in each season except for the Bulls. Thibs is one of the greatest defensive coaches of all time. Is his defense good enough to make Chicago a champion?
The Bulls had the worst offense in the league averaging 93.7 PPG in 2013-2014 and tied for worst in 2012-2013 with 93.2 PPG. Chicago had the 18th worst offense averaging 96.3 PPG with some Derrick Rose in 2011-2012 and tied for 19th averaging 98.6 PPG during Rose’s MVP campaign in 2010-2011.
Thibodeau’s scheme provides amazing defensive numbers, but it also makes it hard to create offense.
He played his best players in a meaningless game in the 2013-2014 regular season finale, they lost and nothing positive came from the game. Chicago has looked fatigued in the playoffs under Thibs, his playoff record is 17-22.
Luol Deng played the most minutes in the NBA from 2010-2013. Noah has the highest minutes per game by a center from 2012-2014. Two days after playing 35 minutes in a 23 point victory over the Bucks on Feb. 4, 2012, Rose had back spasms against the Nets. It started a string of injuries for Derrick.
Since 2010, LeBron James has averaged 32.25 MPG in games with a point differential of 20 points or more. During the same time period, Luol Deng with Chicago averaged 34.47 MPG in 34 games with a point differential of 20 points or more. Deng played over two minutes more than James in every blowout, in other words, he played 75 more garbage minutes than LeBron.
The Bulls were set up to lose last season and Thibodeau still tried to win every game. He played his top players for way more than they should have. It’s like he has absolutely no foresight. He coached like he was going to lose his job, but Chicago would never fire Thibs under last year’s circumstances.
So what is Tom Thibodeau…he’s an elite defensive coach with a poor offensive system that puts heavy meaningless minutes on his players. The Bulls and Thibs can win a championship, if he handles his players’ minutes more cautiously and the Bulls get Thibs a top level scorer.