There have been many comments over the last few days in the media and among Chicago Bulls fans on the internet about the future of head coach Tom Thibodeau, especially now that Mike D’Antoni has resigned as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Thibs has been an amazing coach during the regular season- after being named NBA Coach of the Year in his first season at the Bulls’ helm, he has finished second, eighth and third in years two through four. Obviously, the man is one hell of a coach.
One hell of a regular season coach, many would argue. The problem, according to many, is that Thibs puts far too much emphasis on the regular season, which has his team worn out by the time the “real” season (the NBA Playoffs) roll around.
It’s hard to fault a coach who tries to win as many games as possible, as historically having the #1 seed in your conference has been a huge advantage heading into the playoffs. But this year’s playoffs have been quite odd in that road teams are winning just as much as home teams in the first round (at the time I am writing this, home teams are 22-23, so much for home court advantage).
Not only has Thibs been accused of overworking his players during the regular season, many are now accusing him of putting too much emphasis on his vaunted defense, at the expense of scoring points. If you watched D.J. Augustin shoot under 30% from the field and under 27% from behind the arc while Jimmer Fredetter played zero minutes during the Bulls’ 4-1 series defeat at the hands of the Washington Wizards, it’s hard to argue that point.
Enter Mike D’Antoni, a coach who is known for his offensive system (and for not caring about making his teams play defense). He just resigned from his head coaching position with the Lakers, and considering the Bulls’ complete lack of offensive effectiveness over the last two seasons, he might seem like the man to come in and teach the Bulls how to score points.
This team has already been drilled relentlessly on defense, it’s hard to imagine guys like Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler would suddenly stop being All-NBA caliber defenders if the Bulls brought in a coach who strictly preaches and teaches offense.
Ironically, the Lakers are expected to ask permission to speak with Thibs about filling D’Antoni’s shoes in LaLaLand. With Thibs under contract for three more years, the Lakers would have to compensate the Bulls for the right to hire Thibs as their coach.The Lakers are sitting on a good lottery pick this summer, scheduled to pick #6 if they don’t move up in the lottery.
Would the Bulls be better served giving up Thibs for a high lottery pick? Is Thibs another Doug Collins, a “Point A” to “Point B” coach?
It is going to be a very interesting summer in Chicago.Follow paulmbanks