Tom Thibodeau recently finished third in the coach of the year voting. If the Bulls were to lose Thibodeau, the odds of replacing him with someone better are about none. That said, it's hard not to look at him and think he has an Achilles heal and wonder if he'll ever step back far enough from where he's at and change.
Someone needs to send him a copy of "What got you here will not get you there". For Tom Thibodeau is the anti-Phil Jackson, and whenever you are the opposite of the most successful person in the history of your business in virtually every way imaginable, you should stop and consider whether or not something should change.
Jimmy Butler looks tired. Why does Jimmy Butler look tired? I don't know, but it's worth noting that he played 53 minutes last game. Who else would you trust besides Jimmy Butler to play defense though? Ronnie Brewer perhaps? Maybe. We don't really know. Maybe Ronnie Brewer is done, maybe he's the same guy.
We didn't try to work him into the rotation to find out.
Who could we have trusted to get us some points when the Bulls went 7 minutes and scored four points? Jimmer Fredette? Could he have given us a lift? We won't know. We never worked him into the rotation to find out.
Nope, we just keep playing the same eight man rotation all year no matter what, and the excuse that doing anything else would generate too many losses is simply an excuse. The Bulls used to play Luol Deng until his knees fell apart every game, and as soon as he left the team performed better with his backups taking on a bigger role.
Doesn't mean Luol Deng stinks, but it sure as hell means his backups could have taken on a larger role the whole time. It sure means that Deng could have played 34 minutes a game and stayed fresh.
Maybe we have the same ability now. However, now we'll just be guessing. It's a question we should already have had an answer to. However, Thibs won't change his rotations. He sniped angrily at K.C. Johnson when the question was brought up.
The thing is, Tom's excellence in the regular season is costing us now. Perhaps not experimenting with anything in the regular season earned us four additional wins, but perhaps it didn't. Maybe trying different things would have given us the same or a better result. Maybe our guys being fresher all season would have helped.
We don't really know. What we do know is that outside of the top eight in the rotation, we have no idea what we have in any other players. We know we can't stop Washington when it matters on defense, and we really don't know what we'd get if we tried to throw an offensive lineup out there.
Maybe Augustin, Fredette, and Dunleavy would score all over the Wizards. However, even if such a gimmick lineup would have a chance, it probably wouldn't be in the first time the three ever play together on the floor.
At the risk of going too cliche, the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Meanwhile, while Thiobdeau's players are gassed at the end of the game, John Wall and Bradley Beal are coming in fresh. They're more athletic, more rested, and surprisingly more effective at the end of the game. Can't imagine why that is.
Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau fought over whether or not to rest the Celtics down the stretch and hit the playoffs healthy. Rivers won. Who else won? The Celtics won. The title.
Phil Jackson made it a point to work everyone into the rotation, so that he could call on anyone's number in the playoffs and know they would fulfill their role on the team. Tom Thibodeau obviously believes differently.
There clearly isn't just one way to win. Coaches win in different ways with different types of teams all the time. A good coach needs to be open to pursuing different avenues of success, but Tom Thibodeau is stuck running down the only road he knows.
He won't get distracted by any side streets. He doesn't want to try anything different. He wants to bristle at anyone who suggest that perhaps something other than what he's doing right now might be successful.
His lack of development of his full roster and lack of trust in those guys continues to hurt the Bulls, but what hurts more is knowing that it will never change. If we have the deepest team in the NBA, he'll still stick to his top eight guys.
He'll still run them into the ground. He'll still take four years to discover that Taj Gibson is in fact better than Carlos Boozer [though he still won't switch the starting line up]. However, on a night where Boozer's killing it out there, he won't play Carlos more than 24 minutes either.
It's almost like someone created Tom Thibodeau out of a series of binary switches or a game of 20 questions that can only be answered with yes or no.
Now I love Tom Thibodeau as a coach. He does so many things well. So many things that other coaches don't. There's a reason he's in the coach of the year ballot every year for the regular season.
Joakim Noah said "Tom if we weren't winning, I'd really hate you" to which Tom replied "I feel the same way about you". There comes a point where the Bulls won't feel like they're winning to have a good regular season and get ousted in the playoffs.
In the best case scenario, Tom's lack of grey area will cause the Bulls to not play up to their potential. In the worst case, he'll lose the team once the players feel that "winning in the regular season" doesn't really count as winning if they can't perform in the playoffs.
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