Why Chicago Bulls Need to Finally Give Tom Thibodeau a Long-Term Contract
The Chicago Bulls head coach has been nothing short of brilliant since replacing the fired Vinny Del Negro two years ago.
During his debut season in Chicago (2010-11), Thibs guided the Bulls to the NBA's top record of 62-20, the team's best mark since 1998, back when Michael Jordan and Co. captured their sixth title.
Racking up 62 wins was an extremely impressive feat for Thibodeau, not just because it was his first year as an NBA head coach, but because starters Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah missed a chunk of time due to injuries.
For his efforts, Thibodeau was named the league's Coach of the Year. He became just the seventh rookie coach in NBA history to win the award, joining Harry Gallatin, former Bulls coach Johnny "Red" Kerr, Mike Schuler, Larry Bird, Doc Rivers and Rick Carlisle.
Last season, Thibodeau guided the Bulls to the league’s best record once again, despite MVP point guard Derrick Rose missing 27 games with injuries.
The team actually tied the San Antonio Spurs for the top record, but since the Bulls beat the Spurs in their lone regular-season matchup, they held the tiebreaker.
Thibodeau’s hopes of becoming the first coach in league history to repeat as Coach of the Year were dashed, as he finished second in voting behind San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.
What a snub. Popovich has the “Big Three” of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili on his roster, while Thibodeau had Rose for only 39 games and basically a bunch of role players.
The Bulls have picked up Thibodeau’s option for the 2012-13 season, however, the team is yet to sign him to a long-term deal.
What’s the holdup?
Why not pony up some cash for Thibodeau? He’s clearly an elite coach and he knows how to get his players to buy into a hard-nosed defensive system.
Sure, he hasn't led the Bulls to title or even a trip to the NBA Finals during his two-year tenure, but that isn't his fault.
In Thibodeau's first season, Chicago lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. It's possible that the team was just a quality shooting guard away from slipping past LeBron James' crew and meeting Dallas in the Finals.
And last season, the Bulls were eliminated by Philadelphia in the first round, but of course, that was only because Rose tore his ACL in the postseason opener. Who knows, if it wasn't for that injury, maybe the Bulls would've raised banner No. 7 to the rafters at the United Center.
Thibodeau certainly deserves a long-term contract, no doubt about it. For the last couple of years in the Windy City, he has been ridiculously successful with a club that possesses far less talent than the likes of Miami, Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
Rose is expected to miss most of next season due to the ACL injury and Bulls management got rid of several key players this offseason.
Don’t be surprised to see the team finish with one of the best records in the East next season since Thibodeau will remain on the sidelines.
C'mon, Mr. Gar Forman and get out your checkbook.
It's time to pay up.
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