The Tom Thibodeau era in Chicago transformed players with promise into bonafide NBA stars. Before Coach Thibs, Derrick Rose, Joakhim Noah, and Jimmy Butler were known more for their college accolades than what they had down as pros. Rose was a prep phenom who was apart of the Calipari-PG tree. Noah gained infamy for winning back-to-back championships in Gainesville. And the story of Butler being homeless as a teen warmed the hearts of many.
By following the Thibs way the Bulls appeared poised to win a NBA Championship. Under Thibs there were no nights off, practices were just as grueling as games, and each possession was treated as if it was the Bulls last. This pedal to the medal approach led a few top seeds, an MVP, a Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, and a few All-NBA selections but it came at a huge cost. The Bulls suffered one debilitating injury after another during the Thibs era. Fans and pundits ruled out chance, and blamed Thibs for each injury. It wasn’t a wet floor, an errand elbow, or a poorly taped ankle, it was all Thibs fault which ultimately led to his firing.
Now only a quarter into the Fred Hoiberg era, fans and pundits are witnessing putrid effortless basketball. The Bulls triumvirate has been reduced to one All-Star, a guard with double vision, and a bench warmer. Their defensive effort has been Harden-like and the so-called players coach looks like he has already lost the locker room. Butler who became a star under Thibs has failed to get his teammates to give the same effort that was once a foregone conclusion under the previous regime.
Maybe things will change for the better. Maybe the coach with no NBA coaching experience who choked in March year in and year out can recapture the locker room. The Bulls front office has egg on its face, Gary Forman and John Paxson may have ruined a title contender all because of their pride. And if things do not improve these two may be next to face the firing squad with their pride intact. Since Thibs is not there whose to blame for the Bulls current struggles?
Since Hoiberg is no Steve Kerr or Luke Walton for that matter, the Bulls may not even win enough games to make the playoffs in the woeful Eastern Conference. But Bulls fans, you only have yourself to blame, you griped and complained but failed to realize that the Bulls needed Thibs in order to be great.You got what you wanted but lost what you had. Welcome back to the lottery Chicago, maybe the two front office misfits will get it right the next time. Somewhere Coach Thibs is sipping on some egg nog and watching his stock sky rocket. Where will Coach Thibs win at next? Stay tuned…I know I will.