I hate politics, I really do. What I hate more then politics is the bogus campaigning that goes into every election no matter if it’s for the presidency of the United States or for Elementary School student council. But one cause I will endorse is the 2012 campaign for Tom Thibodeau as Coach of the Year.
Now, with my Bulls cap on, I pick Thibodeau because — well because I never pick against my own. And this is coming from a Buccaneers fan who misfired on 12 of 16 games last year because he doesn’t pick against his own.
But even with my Bulls hat off, Tom Thibodeau is the Coach of the Year in 2012. No Bulls coach has ever won Coach of the Year twice in Chicago, not even Phil Jackson during the Michael Jordan era. So winning the honor will really be saying something to how important Thibodeau is to the Bulls.
The evidence is piled up more so then it was last year that proves Thibodeau is the best coach in the NBA. Last year Thibodeau won the honor because he took an average Bulls team, sharpened the tools that they already had –Noah, Deng and most notably Derrick Rose– and he utilized the spare parts of other teams and formed what is arguably the best bench in the NBA.
But this year Thibodeau did what hardly any other coach can, he built on the success he had the previous year and reinvented his success.
There is so much to talk about when it comes to what Thibodeau did this year and it’s really hard to determine what his most impressive mark is.
For starters he became the fastest (and therefore youngest) coach to win 100 games. What’s doubly impressive about this is Thibodeau became a head coach for the first time last year and had only coached in (at the time) 130 games. Since March 19th when Thibodeau became the fastest coach to 100 wins the Bulls have gone 10-6 and if they win their final two games Thibodeau will finish his first two seasons as an NBA head coach with a record of 112-36 and a winning percentage of .756.
Beyond the personal feat for Thibodeau, what has to be factored into the Coach of the Year debate is how he’s been the glue to a Bulls team that would have fallen to pieces under most other coaches. If Vinny Del Negro was still in power, the Bulls are back to being an average team yet again if not below that.
With the injuries the Bulls have sustained, how well Thibodeau has kept this locomotive on the tracks is even more impressive. In the month of March, the second of two months he was named Coach of the Month (the other being January), Thibodeau coached the Bulls to a 13-3 record which is impressive in of itself.
But what sky rockets the value of this achievement is Thibodeau coached the Bulls to this mark without Derrick Rose for 99 percent of the ride.
Chicago had key wins over Indiana, New York and Miami in this stretch as well as a brutal beatdown of the Magic in Orlando that saw the Bulls (again without Rose in the lineup) hold the Dwight Howard, red hot at the time Magic to 59 points.
During March Chicago put together winning streaks of four, three, four and two losing only to the Magic, Blazers and Nuggets.
Another feat to Thibodeau’s credit is the fact that even in this shortened season that has beat down even the most seasoned teams, the Bulls didn’t lose back-to-back games until the beginning of April.
Thibodeau’s only competition is Gregg Popovich in San Antonio and not only is it fair competition but for a second year head coach it’s amazing company to be in.
Popovich’s claim to fame this year is that he won his 800th career game as a head coach. But Popovich really made a case for Coach of the Year down the stretch of the season where he kept his team together much like Thibodeau has and he over took the Oklahoma City Thunder for the top seed in the West and quickly thereafter closed them out to win home court advantage really out of the blue.
No one expected the Spurs to overtake the Thunder the way Oklahoma City was playing but Popovich has made a career being the underdog in San Antonio and not letting that weigh him down.
But it’s not a career award, it’s a coach of the year award and if it has to come down to a value system then take this into account: Popovich won coach of the month for one of three months it’s been handed out.
Thibodeau has won it twice.
He would have won it all three months but the Miami Heat can go a regular season without winning some kind of honor. That and they did put together a really great February.
Tom Thibodeau has put together one helluva 2012 campaign that even outdoes his 2011 campaign that not only made his name but made the Bulls who they are this season. The decision is going to be a close one but Tom Thibodeau should be the first Bulls head coach to win two Coach of the Year honors during his tenure.
Vote Thibodeau in 2012.