Well Pippen Peoples enjoy the moment. Bask in the glory. The Chicago Bulls as of this writing currently stand in the third position in the Leastern conference standings. It is amazing how this team has evolved as a team, especially if you take a look at how the team fared at the beginning of the season. Let’s look at the Bulls record from month to month…
If you look at the monthly records at the start of the new year, the Chicago Bulls with a 28-13 mark has one of the best records in the conference. It’s a good thing too, considering that the Brooklyn Nets have a 27-12 record which is the BEST in the conference. But make no mistake here, the Brooklyn Nets bought this success with a lot of free-flowing money from management that borders on a blank check. The Chicago Bulls are on the other side of the spectrum which spending money flows that is in comparison of bargain shopping at a flea market. What gives? How are the Bulls doing it? In part one of this series, I shined the light on three examples. The first example was the injury to Derrick Rose, which opened up the offense to a different philosophy. The second example was the Luol Deng trade which led to the maturity and confident growth of Jimmy Butler. The third example was the signing of DJ Augustin who transformed himself from a roster spot to one of the most important players on the Bulls roster going into the playoffs. Let’s continue on breaking down what has transpired over the season that has contributed to the Bulls success.
1) Coach Tom Thibodeau is the best coach in the Eastern conference.
To all the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers fans that don’t agree with me, I say so what, you’re wrong. Not to say Frank Vogel and Eric Spoelstra aren’t good coaches because they are. Records speak for themselves. But ask yourself this question…could they have the same success under the circumstances Thibodeau had to deal with this year. They both have their superstars Paul George (Indiana) and LeBron James (Miami) and they have set rosters for the majority of the year if you go by their starting five. Sure Dwayne Wade has been in and out during the year but that was planned to protect his knees. Lets take a look at what Thibodeau has dealt with this year shall we.
D-Rose going down for the year…again.
Normally when a team’s franchise player goes down for the season, we all think about what how many ping-pong balls they can get and what player they can get in the draft. Don’t be fooled Pippen Peoples, there were people in the Bulls organization thinking just that. The good thing for Bulls fans everywhere is that Coach Thibodeau just wasn’t one of them. He just put his head down and worked with what he had. He overhauled the offensive game plan on the fly with no training camp and very little practice time. He used his already stellar defensive schemes to compensate for the lack of offensive firepower. The offense is still tough to watch some nights but it has improved to the point that the Bulls are currently third in the conference standings.
Luol Deng being traded.
We have to understand something here. Luol Deng was one of Thibodeau’s most trusted players on the roster. Thibodeau did not hide his displeasure when Deng was dealt. Furthermore, he had to be more annoyed when there was no player coming back to fill his roster spot. What did Thibodeau do? He slid Jimmy Butler in and kept right on going. Thibodeau believes his system works, period no matter who is on the roster. If one leaves, the next player just steps into place and the machine keeps moving.
Getting his players to buy into his “No Excuses” way of dealing with this season.
This is amazing to me. In my opinion, the Bulls management was in “Tank” mode as soon as Derrick Rose was carried off the floor. It was title or bust. I’ll say it again, Thibodeau came in on a different boat. But it does not matter what the coach thinks or feels if he can’t translate this to his players. For the most part Thibodeau has gotten that message through to his players (Carlos Boozer is questionable…more on that later) that no matter what goes on around them, you will work hard and execute. No matter how good a job Coach Thibodeau has done to get this message across to the team, this does not happen without…
2) Joakim Noah…who has found something that he hates more than the Miami Heat…LOSING!
Joakim Noah is a winner. Period. I could end my point here, but I will keep going. I have raved over this guy coming to work every night. He is the undisputed leader in the locker room and possibly the disputed face of the franchise. The impact that he has on this franchise is undeniable. The chemistry between Noah and Taj Gibson is basically why Carlos Boozer should be shown the door this offseason. What Carlos tries to portray as being a leader on this team, Joakim Noah does and everyone can see it. He might not win the MVP this year because that award is on its way to Oklahoma City as we speak, but Noah is just as important to the Bulls as Durant. Let’s take this a little further, based on the circumstances and what he does for the Bulls on both ends of the floor, more important.
3) Taj Gibson worked HARD on his game in the offseason.
There is a rule of thumb that applies here that all of the great players know. You become a great player by working on your game in the offseason adding things to get better. Taj Gibson has done that and boy you can tell it. Taj Gibson did not play like this last season, trust me. This year alone Taj Gibson has featured a jump shot out to 17 feet. Post moves that are very effective and enough wind to be able to lead the league in minutes in the 4th quarter. There have been reports that Carlos Boozer is complaining…again about what is going on behind the scenes. If Carlos did what Taj has been doing which is going out playing hard, making defensive rotations and posting up once a week. maybe he wouldn’t have to complain. Just sayin.
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