Phil Jackson V2? 10 Reasons Why Coach Thib's Is Coach of the Year
Some serious hardware might be coming to the Bulls this year.
Derrick Rose is all but a lock to take home MVP, and the Bulls have a chance to win the NBA Championship. They might also set a record by sweeping Central rivals, something the Bulls teams of the 90s failed to do.
But it is not mentioned that another member of the Bulls' organization is a shoo-in to win another league wide award. Unthinkable a year ago, here are 10 reasons why the Bulls will feature the NBA's Coach of the Year sitting on their bench in Tom Thibodeau.
1. Weak Competition
There are some very good coaches out there in the NBA who are in charge of some very good teams.
Phil Jackson and Greg Popovich, are some of the usual candidates for COY. Both are phenomenal leaders who have won championships. But neither has done anything this year that is worthy of such an award. True they have both won a lot of games this year. But so has Thibodeau.
I couldn't think of anyone who plays with more passion then Joakim Noah.
It must be a match made in heaven for Noah as Thibodeau coaches with more enthusiasm and passion than anyone else in the league. Stories were told before and after Thib's hiring saying that he is always the first one in the building and the last one out. It was feared this passion would not carry over to his players.
True, the Bulls have a player in Derrick Rose who rarely shows emotion. True, they have a player in Joakim Noah who plays with passion all game long. But the passion of Thibodeau has carried over to his team as the Bulls play with much more emotion and hustle than they did for VDN.
And as fans, we only witness the games. The passion that Thibodeau approaches his work in the filmroom has doubtlessly carried over to his team. Preparation is just as important as games and leads to wins. The Bulls would not be on pace to win 60 games without approaching their preparation with the passion Thibodeau does.
One could argue that passion does not lead to Coach of the Year awards. But it certainly leads to wins. And wins do in fact lead to COY.
Tom Thibodeau is probably one of the most knowledgeable coaches in basketball.
He is always coaching, and the Bulls all point to his teaching and how it has improved their games. Turn the volume up during a game and listen to a hoarse voice yelling the whole game. That's Thibodeau. He knows so much about the game he can game-plan for other teams, figure out how to win and figure out how to lock down a team's best player.
Thib's knowledge that he has passed onto his players from the first day of training camp is certainly a huge reason why the Bulls are a potential No. 1 seed and a huge reason why Thibodeau will win Coach of the Year.
It was going to be somewhere on this list. Defense is Thibodeau's calling card.
The Bulls have certainly bought into his system as they are the top defensive team in the league. Defense wins championships and many games throughout the regular season. When making the case for Thibodeau for COY, just mention he turned an okay defense into the best in the league in one year; he should already have the trophy in hand.
5. Rose, Korver and Boozer on Defense???
It's been a knock on Rose in his first few years in the league. It's the reason why Korver isn't the starting shooting guard. It's why Boozer has been benched in the fourth quarter. All three have been a liability on defense. But under Thib's tutelage, all have improved on the defensive end. Rose is chasing the opposing point guard much more than he did in his first few days in the league. He even has come up with a big steal from Deron Williams to win a game against the Jazz earlier this year.
Korver is shuffling his feet and is chasing the other team much better. He even covered Dwyane Wade during the Miami game and did decently against him. Boozer is also a much better defender himself, reaching for the ball less and shuffling his feet more.
It's might not seem like the strongest reason why Thib's will win, improving just a few players defense. But it's three main players on the Bulls, and without this improvement, the Bulls probably wouldn't be No. 1 in the league on defense. And therefore, it's a reason why Thib's will win COY.
6. Derrick Rose
A good coach can improve a player. A coach of the year can turn an already great player into an MVP. And that's exactly what has happened under Thibodeau's tutelage. Rose has developed a three-point shot, (as I write this article, D-Rose is dropping 17 in the first quarter against the Jazz) became a better defender and has improved his basketball IQ.
The last reason is probably one of the most important. Rose now has a better basketball IQ, and that is seen by how his assist numbers have improved dramatically. Thibodeau has found a way to teach Rose how to find and distribute the ball effectively.
We laughed when Rose said he wanted to be MVP. And that makes sense based on Rose's play under VDN. But under Thibodeau, Rose is MVP.
7. Win without Noah and Boozer
Thibodeau has been without at least half of his starting frontcourt for the majority of the season. It's one of the reasons Rose is mentioned as an MVP candidate. And it's hard for a coach to game plan when starting one of the oldest players in the league. Yet, Thibodeau has found a way to win throughout the season.
The Bulls are still projected to win 60 games this year, largely due to Thibodeau's coaching. Most coaches would crumble without their frontcourt, yet Thibodeau still wins. If the Bulls can win 60 without Boozer and Noah, could the Bulls eventually beat the 72-10 record in the near future????
8. Team Chemistry
As anyone who ever played sports will tell you, chemistry between a team is extremely important.
A coach often has to balance egos, manage emotions and inspire the team. Thibodeau has somehow managed to foster a great relationship between the players on the Bulls. Has anyone seen any of the players arguing? Has anyone seen a story about a fight behind closed doors? A coach is the mediator between a team, and Thibodeau has done a phenomenal job creating chemistry within his team.
Chemistry again leads to wins, and again, wins leads to hardware on Thibodeau's mantle.
Thibodeau is a leader of men who can motivate and inspire his team to come out and perform on the biggest of stages. And somehow, the Bulls come out on back-to-backs and perform at the highest possible level. The Bulls are always ready to play. The team never comes out flat without energy, and that is a trademark of a coach who can motivate a team.
By motivating his players and getting them ready to play every night, Thib's can prevent his team from loosing too many games that they should. By preventing these losses, the team's record is better and Thib's bid for COY is stronger.
10. Started Something Special
Okay, before I write this, let me start by saying this is way too early, speculative and downright crazy. But I'm going to write it anyway.
Phil Jackson only won 55 games his first year. Thibodeau will beat that easily. Jackson went on to win 10 championships and coach two of the best players in the history of the game. And yet, Thibodeau is off to a better start than Jackson was. Could this be the start of something special again in the United Center?
The pieces are in place for the beginning of something special. And Thibodeau will lead this charge along with Derrick Rose. And this has nothing to do with Coach of the Year, but Thib's will win a championship sometime during his time on the Chicago bench.