Bulls review: Tom Thibodeau

June, 10, 2013
6/10/13
10:14
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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Nick Friedell looks at each member of the Chicago Bulls and how they fit in for the future.

Tom ThibodeauDavid Banks/Getty ImagesIn a season full of challenges, Tom Thibodeau managed to lead the Bulls to 45 wins and a trip to the second round of the playoffs.

Tom Thibodeau


Season recap: Thibodeau proved again why he is one of the best coaches in the NBA. He took a team led by Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and a lot of spare parts on the bench and turned them into a 45-game winner and into the second round against the Miami Heat. The Bulls knew they were going to take a step back this year without Derrick Rose, but Thibodeau made sure it wasn't much as the Bulls played hard almost every night and set a tone defensively that was respected throughout the league.

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Season highlight: Playing without Kirk Hinrich (calf) and Luol Deng (illness), the Bulls still found a way to win Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in Brooklyn against the Nets. It was the defining win of the Thibodeau era in Chicago and one he has to be proud of as he starts the offseason.

Season lowlight: In November, Thibodeau's team lost three straight regular season games for the first time in his tenure. The three-game losing skid included losses to the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets.

Final grades: Regular season: A Postseason: A

Notes: Thibodeau's big challenge will be integrating Rose back into the lineup this summer. He will need to find a way to make his former MVP most comfortable. He definitely did that in the public eye this past season by standing behind Rose throughout the process. Thibodeau never wavered in his support for Rose and that should pay dividends in that relationship moving forward.

Quotes: "We're not satisfied because we feel like there's still a lot to accomplish," Thibodeau said after the Game 7 win in Brooklyn. "You begin the season with the end in mind knowing that you're going to be going through a lot of different things and you have to have the perseverance and mental toughness to get through a lot of tough things. And this was one of those things. We lost some guys along the way, they had homecourt ... we took a big punch in Game 1 and we kept fighting back and that's been the story of the season."

What's next?: Thibodeau continues to squeeze the most out of his roster but for the third year in a row his team hobbled its way to the finish line. He is always going to coach with the same passion and fire but he is facing more critics about the way he splits up his minutes. The front office will likely sit down with Thibodeau this summer and see if they can get him to take his foot off the gas just a little bit during the regular season.

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
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5