I’ve had a lot of thoughts rattling around during this whole Tom Thibodeau mini-series and most of them don’t have anything to do with the particulars of the story.
For instance, I really don’t “have a horse in this race”. Normally, I would support a coach in these types of disputes but I really don’t have any inside info other than what I’ve read prior to and after Thibodeau’s firing. Actually, if you go back to ESPN Chicago’s May 22 blog, you can read a detailed -updated through the firing- history of the unraveling of the relationship between the Bulls’ front office and the now deposed coach.
But here’s what I do know:
1) We all coach at the pleasure of someone.
2) We all have “constituents”.
3) We all have to be “political” to some degree or another.
4) Above all else, we all have to win to some degree or another.
Even Tom Thibodeau, as accomplished a coach as he is, isn’t exempt from these generalizations. For the record, he won at roughly a 65% regular season rate- the 6th best all time NBA record.
As for coaching at the pleasure of someone, having constituents and needing to be political, clearly there are many coaches, for whatever reasons, who discount the realities of coaching at any level, whether one answers to a university president, a board of regents, a principal, an athletic director or a school board or whether the constituents are alumni or parents. Ignorance or naivete in these regards is not a recipe for longevity.
As for the “winning” aspect, in the end Thibodeau didn’t win enough, or to put it more accurately, he didn’t win enough at the “right” time-i.e. playoff time, (23 wins/28 losses). Just go back to the afternoon of May 10 and the Bulls were one Lebron James’ buzzer trey away from seizing a 3-1 series lead against a then reeling Cavs team without Kevin Love at all and a compromised Kyrie Irving. There are no guarantees they would have closed the Cavs out and gotten by the Hawks but if there was a turning point in the saga, there you have it.
So, despite all the other internal issues between the Bulls and Thibodeau, Executive VP, John Paxson said as much about the firing, “If we were in a championship series right now, this conversation would not be had…”
Do you agree? What do you think about his firing?