After an offseason where they acquired Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Kurt Thomas, Keith Bogans, and C.J. Watson via free agency, along with young prospect Omer Asik from Turkey, the Chicago Bulls are poised to make a run at the NBA Championship this season.
However, not all is swell and easy. There are still question marks surrounding a team that will have seven new players in the locker room this season.
One major question surrounding the Bulls heading into training camp will be: Is new coach Tom Thibodeau ready to coach a team with championship aspirations?
Tom Thibodeau won a title with the Celtics as an assistant coach, but in a market like Chicago, with a team that has championship hopes, Thibodeau will face pressure from all angles.
Although Thibodeau has never been a Head Coach in the NBA, he has been in the NBA business since 1989, when Bill Musselman, then coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, hired him as assistant coach.
Since then, Thibodeau has worked as an advanced scout for the Seattle Supersonics and assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, and most recently, the Boston Celtics.
When the Chicago Bulls hired Vinny Del Negro to coach the team prior to the 2008-2009 season, questions surrounded the team because Del Negro had never been a coach of any kind at any level in basketball.
Thibodeau garnered respect league-wide with the job he did with the Celtics' defense. Doc Rivers, the head coach for the Celtics, gushed words of praise for him any time he was asked about what Thibodeau brought to the table.
"Veterans listen," Rivers said to Boston. "And the talent here is better. And that's all Tom wants to do, every day - coach defense. He lives it, breathes it. He has an energy. We haven't changed a lot of our coverages, but we have more detail to them. Tom pays a greater attention to detail. And it was needed."
Thibodeau has also received credit for coming up with defensive schemes in the 2008 NBA Finals that shut down Kobe Bryant, arguably the best player in the NBA.
Bryant also had words of praise for then-Celtics assistant coach, and defensive guru, Tom Thibodeau, "I've been facing his defenses here for some time and they're tough - very, very tough," Bryant said before Game 2 of the 2008 NBA Finals. "Every single team he's been on has had great strategies and physical defenses."
However, this season, Thibodeau will face pressure from all angles- from the front office to the Chicago media- which could effect the Bulls play on the court.
With up-and-coming Point Guard Derrick Rose, perennial All-Star Carlos Boozer, along with key role players in Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, and Keith Bogans, the Bulls will have all the talent in order to compete with the best teams in the NBA. With talent, comes pressure, something the Bulls will deal with all season.
Although Thibodeau has never been a coach in the NBA, his peripherals and history in the game of basketball prove him to be the right man for the job in Chicago.
Derrick Rose, a fantastic offensive point guard with good vision on the court, has shown throughout his two seasons in the NBA that an improvement on defense is much needed. Who is better to teach him defense than Tom Thibodeau?
Carlos Boozer, who could also use some improvement in his defense, also had kind words for the Bulls new coach.
“Tom Thibodeau has an incredible plan in place,” Boozer told ESPN 1000. “It’s built around defense and that’s going to be our staple. We have some great talent. If we work together, be unselfish, and work our butts off, we can be really good.”
Joakim Noah, who is already a spectacular help side defender, will also see an improvement in his overall defense thanks to Thibodeau.
With Thibodeau's defensive schemes and respect in the locker room, he will surely be an ideal coach for the Bulls this season.
Nevertheless, Thibodeau has never been a head coach at the NBA level, something that could hurt the Bulls this upcoming season.
With the several questions surrounding the Chicago Bulls this season, the arrival of new head coach Tom Thibodeau will be on the back burner. However, his development as a first time head coach will be interesting to watch.
Hopefully for Bulls fans, Thibodeau can learn on the job and bring winning to a franchise that is looking for championships.