Ok hear me out! In no means am I saying it was done the right way. But maybe, just maybe GarPax made the right move by parting ways with Tom Thibodeau. Yes Thibs coaching brought the franchise it’s most successful run since the Jordan era. Producing the best record in the NBA in 2011 and 2012, as well as making it to the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. Under his coaching Derrick Rose won MVP(2011), Joakim Noah became Defensive Player of the Year(2013), Jimmy Butler was named Most Improved Player of the Year(2015) and blossomed into a star, and All Star appearances were made by these three along with Loul Deng. Thibs himself was awarded Coach of the Year in 2011.
All of which is very admirable, but none of which led to a championship. The talent was there, and Thibs had the coaching ability to push his team to the promised land. Unfortunately Thibs pushed too hard, as these seasons were met with injuries that derailed our title chances, and might have led to the worst injury in franchise history. Thibs relied heavily on his starters, because he was driven to win every game that he possibly could. The heavy mins put a strain on his players, but no player more so than his only true star player at the time, Derrick Rose.
Rose who was fresh off an MVP season the previous year, suffered injury after injury during the 2012 season. We all chalked it up to bad luck. Until the first game of the 2012 playoffs. With the game well in hand, with the Bulls ahead by double digits in the final minute. For a reason only Thibodeau himself could understand, he still had his starting 5 on the court. Rose leaped in the air and came down awkwardly, and hobbled to the sideline. It was later revealed he had suffered a torn ACL on the play.
That injury changed the course of the Bulls franchise and title hopes, Rose also never recovered his MVP form after that injury. Rose would go on to have several other knee problems, so it’s possible that he might have still suffered the same fate, but the heavy minutes could still be looked at as exasperating the injury.
Rose now currently plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves along with former Bulls teammates Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler. The TWolves coach being one Tom Thibodeau. The Wolves are said to be in talks with signing Loul Deng and have interest in bringing in Joakim Noah. This brings me to my point of GarPax making the right move in parting ways with Thibs. He is too stuck in his ways. Trying to acquire his old players who aside from Butler and Gibson, are past their primes due to injuries suffered while being leaned on heavily to produce for Thibodeau’s team.
Factor that in with Thibs still playing his starters heavy minutes. The starting 5 for the Wolves lead the NBA in mins played last year, shows that Thibs is still content on grinding out every possible win he can get, wearing down his players in the process. So in hindsight GarPax was smart to part ways with Thibs. I’m still not sure Fred Hoiberg was the right replacement.
His inability to coexist with the best player on the team in Butler, led to Jimmy being shipped away in a trade. A trade bringing out Lauri Markkanen, Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn. Players that are supposed to fit in to Hoiberg’s coaching style. A coaching style that apparently did not fit Butler, Rose, Gibson and Noah and certainly not Rajon Rondo or Dwayne Wade. We’ve heard Hoiberg needs young, athletic players who can knock down the 3, and stretch the floor for his offense to work.
The Bulls have those type of players now. He was given a pass last year, obviously with team tanking for a draft pick as well as Lavine working his way back from a torn ACL. But this year will be crucial to Hoiberg keeping his job. If management is not happy with the way this season unfolds, I would not be surprised to see “The Mayor” voted out of the Windy City.
We’ll see what Hoiberg as well as this Bulls team can do soon. As the Bulls will opening up training camp with Media day on the 24th, followed by practice on the 25th, and play their first game of the preseason on the 30th.