Bulls reviews: Tom Thibodeau

May, 19, 2014
May 19
11:59
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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Tom ThibodeauAP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastThis season might have been the best coaching job of Tom Thibodeau's Bulls career.

Tom Thibodeau


Season recap: This was Thibodeau's best season in his four-year tenure with the Bulls because he changed his entire season plan on the fly after Derrick Rose went down with another knee injury. Then he kept his team together after veteran leader Luol Deng was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thibodeau's team ran out of gas again in the postseason, but he did what he had to do to get the maximum out of his team again.

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Season highlight: One of the Bulls' best wins of the season came Feb. 28 in Dallas against the Mavericks. The Bulls overcame a 16-point first-half deficit to rally past the Mavs 100-91.

Season lowlight: The regular season finale, a 91-86 overtime loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on April 16. In a game that didn't mean much in the grand scheme of playoff seedings, Thibodeau decided to play it like any other game. The difference is that this game went into overtime and Jimmy Butler went on to play 48 minutes in the loss. Joakim Noah played 42. For a team that had a short rotation to begin with, it was a questionable decision to many critics.

Final grade: A

Notes: Thibodeau's single best coaching job of the year may have been to get Noah to become more of a leader on and off the floor. The two have exchanged plenty of words over the years, but they respect one another and trust that the other works as hard as they can to win games.

Quotable: "I guess you kind of get used to it ... but you don't," Noah said in October of Thibodeau's intensity. "I don't know. I'm more used to it now than I guess a couple years ago. But he doesn't let anything go. He's going to coach you because he really cares. He really cares about winning and that's what he's all about."

What's next?: Nobody knows for sure. Thibodeau's name has been mentioned as a possible candidate for two different head coaching jobs in recent days. Until he and/or the Bulls come out to say that the veteran coach will be in Chicago for the long term, the speculation regarding his job status will hover over everything the Bulls do.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Taj Gibson
PTS AST STL MIN
22.0 1.0 1.0 28.0
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 11.0
AssistsA. Brooks 6.0
StealsD. Rose 2.0
BlocksJ. Noah 3.0