The Chicago Bulls fired head coach Tom Thibodeau on Thursday in what could be easily classified as a disappointing, but not shocking move.
Thibodeau wrapped up his fifth season with the Bulls with a second-round exit at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The loss marked the fourth straight year in which the Bulls did not make it past the second round. It also marked the third time in five years in which the Bulls were eliminated by a LeBron James-led team.
Tough break, coach.
In the end, Thibodeau’s time with the Bulls might be most remembered for its ugly ending. But should it be?
Derrick Rose missed nearly two-thirds of the games coached by Thibodeau between 2012 and 2015, playing in 100 in 312 of those games. Further, Rose only played 181 of the 394 regular season games coached by Thibodeau — or 45.9 percent for those of you who like to look at things in percentages.
The Bulls were 137-46 when Rose started in the Thibodeau era. That .749 winning percentage is pretty good, if you ask me. Without Rose, the Bulls had a respectable .559 winning percentage with a 118-93 record.
Not bad considering the Bulls’ offensive ranks under Thibodeau:
- 44.5 FG% (24th of 30 teams)
- 46.9 2PT% (25th of 30)
- 96.5 points per game (24th of 30)
- 48.4 eFG% (22nd of 30)
- 105.8 points per 100 possessions (18 of 30)
All things considered, Thibodeau made good with what he had more often than not, especially considering he spent most of his coaching tenure without his best offensive weapon. The Try-Hard Bulls weren’t pretty to watch. Nor were they much fun on most nights. But they gave an honest effort despite being short-handed more often than not.
That is a testament to their coach.
Well, former coach.
Now that we’ve reached the end, Thibodeau goes down as the third winningest coach in team history. His 255 wins rank behind Phil Jackson’s 545 and Dick Motta’s 356. And despite only making it to the conference finals once in his five-year tenure, Thibodeau’s 23 playoff wins is second in team history behind Jackson’s 111. Thibodeau’s 28 losses rank third on the Bulls’ all-time coaching list. Then again, he didn’t have Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in his starting line-up, either.