Feb 19, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer (5) and forward Mike Dunleavy (34) and center Joakim Noah (13) and guard Kirk Hinrich (12) listen to head coach Tom Thibodeau against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Bulls beat the Raptors 94-92. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Thibodeau: Can You Coach These Chicago Bulls?

 Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The question that gets Chicago Bulls fans fighting amongst each other now that Carlos Boozer is gone is…Can Tom Thibodeau coach BOTH sides of the floor? All I know is, I hope the next time I see Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau look at a piece of paper it has different ways of using his roster. Believe me he has enough ammunition on his bench to fill up both sides of the sheet.

I’ve been waiting a good long  while to write this article. I’ve been holding this one in for about twelve weeks. After the Chicago Bulls got unceremoniously bounced from the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs by the Washington Wizards. I wrote a piece about the coach Tom Thibodeau. The piece was named Tom Thibodeau: Will He? More Importantly, Should He Go?

In this piece, I put the man on blast for the lackluster job he did making adjustments (no check that, he didn’t make any..my bad) throughout the series while the Wizards head coach Randy Wittman coached circles around him. As we all remember the Chicago Bulls got beat 4-1 by the Washington Wizards. It probably would have been a sweep if Mike Dunleavy hadn’t had an out-of-body experience shooting threes at a record pace in Game three. The article brought about some furious fans.

Here’s one from Ken Hoyd…

“The cool thing Ronald, my man, is that you dispelled the myth that all black people know basketball. Now if we can just get you to write articles about Chicken, Rap Music and the benefits Tea Party… There would be harmony in the streets.”

It’s good to know that Donald Sterling does not have controlling interest on racist comments.

Then Pippen Ain’t Easy’s newest writer Chris Brent wrote an article on Tom Thibodeau a couple of days ago. The angry comments came out again.

Here’s one from Larry

“You’re an idiot—you’ll take Hoiberg over Thibodeau – no wonder you are on this website and not ESPN.”

Well Chris you are on your way. ESPN will be in your future. You got me beat. I only got as far as the Bleacher Report in my comment section.

Okay Pippen Peoples let’s get to it. I have a question. Why do people get so testy when it comes to criticizing this coach? I read Chris Brent’s piece and he made sense. I know  one thing that’s going to happen this year. We can all sit back and see if all of you that made these comments know what you are talking about OR maybe, just maybe there is a method to the madness to what Chris Brent and I see.

I like to give out some fun facts to make points so let’s go through a few shall we.

Did you  know that the Chicago Bulls have lost seven of their last eight playoff games?

Did you know the Chicago Bulls have lost four straight home playoff games?

Well let’s all drink some prune juice and let some of this stuff go. Now the Bulls have a loaded squad for Tom Thibodeau to coach.

This is going to be a debate that will end up being bigger than Carlos Boozer’s value on the team. Trust me. There is a major philosophical difference in the way Tom Thibodeau coaches the Chicago Bulls. Let’s look at the accomplishments first.

In his rookie campaign Thibodeau ran the Bulls to 62 wins tying a record set by Paul Westphal for most wins by a rookie head coach.

The 62 wins were a 21 game improvement over Vinnie Del Negro’s 41 win season prior marking the third best single season turnaround in Chicago Bulls history.

Advanced  to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1998.

Gar Forman even won Co-Executive of the Year.

Well Pippen Peoples, Forman might win it again because he has given Thibodeau the deepest squad since 2011. Plus this team might be more talented. Can Thibodeau coach this squad? Not like he did last year.

Everyone gives Tom Thibodeau his props for what he did last year based on the circumstances placed on the team talent wise. He deserves it and I have no problems giving him kudos. Not a lot of coaches can perform to the level that Thibodeau did last year.

That was last year.

There are some things that Tom Thibodeau is going to have to change with the wealth of assets he is blessed with. This means making adjustments to his coaching style.

Doug McDermott needs to play some minutes.

Look, I don’t want to hear that sure he’s going to get minutes. I mean meaningful minutes. Garbage time after the game is over is not the time he needs to play. Tom Thibodeau is notorious for not using rookies. He needs to make an adjustment and play this rookie. Doug McDermott tore up the Summer League and he has so much confidence. He shoots too well to be collecting dust on the end of the Bulls bench.

All this depth Tom Thibodeau seems to have now he needs to use it.

With all of the transition of the Chicago Bulls roster with injuries and trades, it was difficult to find a set rotation with players Thibodeau can trust. One of the issues I have with Tom Thibodeau is the reluctance to use his full bench. My God if you need proof, just think back to last year’s playoffs. Outside of D.J Augustin and Taj Gibson, the rest of the bench kept the lay up line even. Now the Bulls run about ten deep. Thibodeau needs to put together a rotation that can protect the health of Derrick Rose AND Joakim Noah.

It’s easy to talk about Derrick Rose and his knees but it’s easy to forget that Noah had knee surgery after the season. The way Thibodeau overworked his players was ridiculous. Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah and even Luol Deng before he  left was basically run into the ground. Pau Gasol just turned 34 years old so there can’t be any United Center marathons every night for him either. There is no need to play these players 40-45 minutes a night any more. The front office gave Thibodeau some real players. he needs to use them.

Thibodeau needs to find an offensive system.

This just in. When your starting center is the focal point of your offense. That is not conducive to winning a title. Sure Derrick Rose is back but if you’re counting on him to cross over whoever is in front of him and make a play, the Bulls will be in trouble. It bears repeating here. The Bulls were DEAD LAST in scoring last year. Granted some it had  to do with the injury to Derrick Rose going down…again. But it’s still Tom Thibodeau’s responsibility to implement an offensive system. As good as Joakim Noah was  last year initiating the offense. This is not going to fly this year.

Pau Gasol will be a monster if the Bulls can get some structure within their offense. Gasol averaged 17.4 points per game while being misused by Mike Dumtoni in Los Angeles. It was sad out there Pippen Peoples. Do you really want to subject this man to more offensive dysfunction? He’s already your best low post option. This needs to be used…a lot.

To all the people who are reading this and are upset like the two that had their respective comments. You’re entitled to your opinion. Just like we do here at Pippen Ain’t Easy. But now everyone can sit back and watch this season and see what Tom Thibodeau does with some real talent from top to bottom with depth.

Now Thibodeau has something he hasn’t had in a few years. Options. He has weapons that can score from all areas of the floor. Now we get to see what he does with them.

Now we all get to see if Tom Thibodeau can put together an offensive scheme. Last year’s offense was like an old Geico commercial. It was so simple even cavemen could stop it.





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Tags: Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose Doug McDermott Tom Thibodeau

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