After another earlier than expected exit from the playoffs, the Chicago Bulls will probably part ways with Tom Thibodeau and fire him, as it seems that using the excuse of bad luck or injuries has run its course and no longer works or provides any sort of alibi.
At some point, bad luck and injuries can’t be an excuse you always turn to. The Chicago Bulls, for whatever reason, under Tom Thibodeau, have underachieved, and it seems that another season of trying to run this group, built around Derrick Rose, under Thibodeau’s guidance, is destined to fail, or not break a certain barrier they keep hitting.
They peaked the season they broke out, in 2010-2011. The Bulls finished with the best record in the NBA, Rose won the MVP. They won the first game of the conference finals against the Miami Heat, but lost four in a row. But they were young, still new together. The future looked promising. A season later they finished with the best record again (shortened season). But then Rose got injured. And it all changed.
Rose hasn’t been the only injury the Bulls have had to deal with over the years. But Thibodeau has been the head coach for five seasons. He still hasn’t been able to form a cohesive offensive look for this team. Something that goes beyond a pick & roll and isolation moves. The defense started slipping, despite the “defensive genius” part of his profile.
And yes, not getting along with your bosses is another reason that could get someone fired. Like it or not, this isn’t Thibodeau’s team while the rest can go f*** themselves. John Paxson, Gar Forman, they’re both a part of putting this team together, of the process of building a champion, for good and bad. As long as the owner gives them the mandate to run this team, they better have a head coach they can work with, even if they’re not exactly the “good guys” in this story.
It won’t be difficult for Thibodeau to find work. The Orlando Magic, Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans are looking for a head coach. All three teams need a defensive specialist to change the shape of their team. The Pelicans and Magic both have plenty of potential to make it a preferable landing spot to anyone. But who makes the switch to Chicago? That’s a more interesting question. Someone from college? Again we’ll hear about Bill Self, John Calipari, Kevin Ollie and maybe others? Scott Brooks, who seems to be an inferior version of Thibs himself? Too early to tell, but don’t act surprised when the Bulls start their search. The writing was on the wall.