It’s impossible to overstate how much Tom Thibodeau loves defense. There was a running joke on Twitter towards the end of the 2010-11 season about how Thibs would respond to an extended period of offensive incompetence by the Chicago Bulls by calling a timeout and inserting defensive ace Ronnie Brewer. In his mind, no problem can’t be solved with more defense.
There have been any number of teams over the last decade or so to hang their hat on defense. The Detroit Pistons won a championship and came within one win of another behind their defense. The 2008 Boston Celtics — featuring assistant coach Tom Thibodeau — did the same. But few teams in recent memory — aside, I suppose, from the Thibs-era Celtics — have appeared to take so much joy out of their defense. With guys like Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Luol Deng, and now Kirk Hinrich and Jimmy Butler, that ends up being really cool to watch.
One of the things I’m really looking forward to this year is seeing an end-of-game lineup featuring Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah. Is there a better defensive foursome in the league than Butler/Deng/Taj/Noah? I can’t think of one, although that doesn’t necessarily mean one doesn’t exist. Anyway, occasionally I lose a few minutes when I zone out and imagine them flying around and dominating opposing offenses.
46 days, folks.
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