Power Ranking Tom Thibodeau with the Best Bulls Coaches of All Time
Tom Thibodeau is clearly a great Chicago head coach. But how does he rank among the greatest Bulls coaches of all time?
Thibodeau's start to his Bulls tenure has been exceptional: two seasons, two Central Division titles, the best record in the NBA in 2010-2011 (and the current best record this season) and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.
How does that compare to the performance of the other great coaches on Chicago's sideline?
Honorable Mention: Jerry Sloan
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Jerry Sloan is an all-time great Bulls player, honored in the rafters for his defensive tenacity. He is also an exceptional head coach. The problem is he was not a great Bulls head coach.
From 1979-1982, shortly after his playing career, Sloan coached the Bulls to a 94-121 (.437) record. The team played hard but had very little talent and was unable to compete with the best Eastern Conference squads.
As a result, Sloan moved on to the Utah Jazz, where he became one of the best head coaches of the past twenty years, and Chicago drafted Michael Jordan. The rest is history.
No. 3: Doug Collins
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Doug Collins was the man who taught Michael Jordan how to become a superstar. For that, Chicago Bulls fans owe him a debt of gratitude.
Sure, the 137-109 (.557) record was not exceptional, though it was the best mark by a Bulls head coach in franchise history up to that time. Collins was also unable to get the young Bulls past the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference hierarchy.
But Collins mentored Jordan and taught him how to mix scoring and passing. He also made Jordan and Scottie Pippin into one of the best tandems in the NBA. When Phil Jackson took over in 1989, the Bulls were ready to get over the hump.
No. 2: Tom Thibodeau
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Thibodeau has only been the Bulls head coach for two seasons. But what a two season run it has been!
Chicago went 62-20 in his first year as Thibodeau seamlessly integrated new additions Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver, and helped Derrick Rose into a superstar. The Bulls also had the best record in the East and made it into the Eastern Conference Finals.
This year, the Bulls have hardly missed a beat despite injuries. He should have them back as the No. 1 seed in the East and in the Conference Finals for a rematch with the Heat.
And that should happen for years to come.
No. 1: Phil Jackson
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Is any other choice even possible? It's certainly not defensible.
Jackson is the greatest coach in NBA history. Most young fans know him as the longtime Los Angeles Lakers head coach but his golden years were with Chicago.
In ten years, Jackson led the Bulls to a 545-193 (.738) record and six NBA titles (1991-93, 1996-98), and made Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippin the best tandem in NBA history.
He will be enshrined in this spot for a long, long time.