It did not take long for Tom Thibodeau to become one of the top 15 coaches in the NBA. After winning NBA Coach of the Year as a first-year head coach, Thibodeau has his Chicago Bulls right where they left off last regular season: in first place.
The job Thibodeau has done this season is arguably more impressive than last year's. With a lockout-shortened season, Thibodeau has had to adjust on the fly after injuries to key players like last season's MVP Derrick Rose and Luol Deng.
Coaching in the NBA is tough already. The shortened season has made the job even tougher. Players around the league are getting injured left and right, and coaches have had to manage their teams without throwing their "A" roster out every night. The shortened season has also resulted in a crazier travel schedule and very little practice time.
Coaching a professional team is much different than coaching in the college ranks. In the pros, coaches don't get to pick their players. On top of that, pro coaches have to manage the egos of the athletes that ultimately decide if they're going to be successful or not.
It's less about "teaching" and more about "managing." In the end, the players usually win the battle for power in the NBA, as seen earlier this season when the Sacramento Kings fired Paul Westphal.
Coaching in the NBA has never been more difficult. Yet the league has some of the best coaching minds in all of sports. Here is a list of the top 15 head coaches in the NBA today: