The 2013-14 season for the Chicago Bulls nearly ended as soon as it began following star Derrick Rose‘s season-ending knee injury just 10 games into the year. If the Bulls were led by any other coach, then a finish at the bottom of the league’s standings would’ve been expected.
But head coach Tom Thibodeau guided Chicago from the dumps into the higher-echelon of teams in the NBA, and for this miraculous accomplishment, he deserves to receive the Coach of the Year award.
Thibodeau has done an extraordinary job with the Bulls this year. He’s transformed a team that no one expected much from into a scrapping, hard-nosed team the whole league fears going up against. Chicago currently has the second-best defensive efficiency in the league at 97.7. In addition, the Bulls are currently fighting for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture with the Toronto Raptors.
Thibs won Coach of the Year back in the 2010-11 season after leading the Bulls to a league-best 62-20 winning record and helping Rose win his first MVP.
One sore spot on Thibodeau’s coaching record with the Bulls this season lies in the team’s lack of a strong offensive presence, but the blame shouldn’t rest solely on his shoulders. The Bulls roster lacks efficient shooters at the moment which is why they need to be movers-and-shakers on the free market this coming offseason. It should be noted that Thibodeau’s record with Rose shows that he can coach offensive talent.
The work Thibodeau has done for the team even has some people saying he can be compared to Phil Jackson, the coach who led the Michael Jordan-era Bulls to their double three-peat in the 1990s. While to some this claim may come off as blasphemy, it honestly shouldn’t seem like a far-fetched statement. All Thibodeau has to do to elevate his standing right now is win Chicago a couple of rings which doesn’t seem impossible. Chicago hasn’t seen a coach who’s even remotely comparable to Jackson in ages.
Considering his achievements, Thibodeau is practically a shoo-in to win the award again this year. There simply aren’t many coaches in the league who are able to persevere in situations like this and come out on top.