The Chicago Bulls opened the 2012-13 season with lowered expectations after finishing first in the Eastern Conference the last two seasons. The Bulls lost some key players from their bench to free agency, including Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver. Star point guard and league MVP Derrick Rose has missed several months due to a severe knee injury suffered in the playoffs. Many teams finding themselves in Chicago’s situation would find it easy to give up on the season and play for the lottery. In fact, there were fans clamoring for the Bulls to have Rose sit out the whole season and try to get a high draft pick. The thing these fans didn’t take into account is most teams don’t have a coach like Tom Thibodeau sitting on the sideline.
Tom Thibodeau has kept the Bulls moving in a winning direction despite missing Rose. The Bulls are leading the Central Division with a 15-10 record. The Bulls season so far includes some impressive victories, including two over the conference-leading New York Knicks. Thibodeau has kept the Bulls defense near the top of the NBA, allowing a paltry 91.0 points per game and allowing a .424 field goal percentage from opponents. The Bulls rank fourth in the league with a defensive rating of 100.7.
Thibodeau has the Bulls playing at a high level despite missing Rose and starting guard Richard Hamilton going down with a foot injury. The Bulls main problem this season is scoring as they rank near the middle to bottom in many team offensive statistics. The news that Derrick Rose’s rehab is progressing on schedule and the eventual return of Hamilton bodes well for the Bulls. It also means bad news for the rest of the league, and an affirmation that Tom Thibodeau ranks among the five best coaches in the NBA today.
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