In a season besieged by injuries all down the line, Chicago Bulls‘ head coach Tom Thibodeau has done a remarkable job in leading his team to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. With Derrick Rose out all season, the Bulls were expected to fall flat without their MVP. Yet Thibs pulled out the best of what was left of this hard-nosed team to grind out 45 wins and defeat the Brooklyn Nets in the first round without Kirk Hinrich and Loul Deng for the majority of the series.
Without question this places Thibodeau at the top of the list for Coach of the Year. What other coach has battled through so many injuries to a roster only to keep coming up successful like a zombie that refuses to die? In fact, the Bulls are like some flesh eating corpse, long thought dead, but continually rising up to make any team they face wonder how they do it with a depleted lineup and without their superstar.
All congratulations go to Thibs who has used this season to perform an Inception-like maneuver on his team, making them believe that they have all they need to survive. Greg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs is a great coach and future Hall of Famer, but he’s had a relatively healthy lineup at his disposal throughout the season. Erik Spoelstra has LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to lead the Miami Heat. George Karl of the Denver Nuggets had a surprisingly successful season only to be knocked out in the first round against the Golden State Warriors.
There are other worthy names in the Coach of the Year race, but who has sustained such success with a plethora of players out or injured throughout the year?
While the Heat will most likely be in the Finals this year, they will first have to battle through the Bulls. If there’s one team that doesn’t mind going up against the Hollywood Heat, it’s the Blue Collar Bulls. And we can thank Thibodeau for ingraining the tough defensive backbone and “who cares who is out, we have enough to win” mindset for making this one of the most exciting seasons in Chicago, even without their MVP who remains seated on the bench in a suit.