Chicago Bulls: Is Tom Thibodeau a Shoo-in for Coach of the Year?

Michael GibbonsCorrespondent IIFebruary 6, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls motions to his team during the first half against the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center on January 30, 2012 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

It may have gone by unnoticed, but Tom Thibodeau was awarded Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors for the month of January. 

Thibodeau, who won Coach of the Year honors last season, was awarded Coach of the Month honors three times (January, March and April) last season.

The Bulls finished the first month of the season with an 18-5 record, which was tops in the league. They also did this playing the most jam-packed schedule in the league and also missing several key players.

Reigning MVP Derrick Rose has missed six games, while Luol Deng recently missed seven games. Also, Rip Hamilton has missed more games then he has played in. He only played in 11 of the team's first 23 games.

Joakim Noah also missed one game as well leaving Carlos Boozer as the only starter to start every game.

The starters aren't the only ones missing time. Backup point guard C.J. Watson has missed 10 games and Taj Gibson has sat out three games.

I didn't even mention how many games that had several of these players missing, which has lead to Brian Scalabrine and John Lucas III to see significant playing times.

Ten different players have already started a game this season. They had 11 players start games all of last season.

All this and the second-year coach still has the Bulls firing on all cylinders. They currently have the second-best point differential in the league while playing more road (13) games than home (10) games.

If the Bulls keep up this play, which is completely possible assuming they get healthy, there is a good chance Thibodeau might once again be honored come the end of the season.

Scott Brooks of Oklahoma City, Doug Collins of Philadelphia and Miami's Erik Spoelstra will probably give him the most competition.

The Bulls starters have missed more games then those three teams combined and still have a better record, while playing more games.

Right now Thibodeau has to be the front-runner and it might be hard for any other coach to surpass the Bulls head coach.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @dachicagofan, and check out my weekly Bulls podcast every Wednesday on my site The MG Experience