Most would agree Tom Thibodeau seems to be an acquired taste. And even more might now admit to you that he may be on the verge of reaching his expiration date with the Chicago Bulls.
“Could care less, I could,” Thibodeau recently told the Chicago Sun-Times about growing chatter in league circles that he may have lost his locker room and appears to be growing more and more disconnected from his men.
And perhaps therein lies the problem. At a time when the Bulls have reached the point and time of being in need of some much some much needed soul-searching, greater clarity and unity from among themselves, Tom Thiboodeau is putting up more barriers.
Behind the scenes, players complain about a coach that’s too demanding and too unflappable. They talk about a coach who rarely grants his players days off or even adequate periods of recuperation. They talk about him being unapologetic in the way he literally seems to run some players into ground.
Make no mistake, when on his game Thibodeau still rates as one of the most focused and detailed coaches in the league. But, by the some token, don’t let the Bulls 30-19 record fool you. As of right now, they are a fractured and uninspired unit and Thibodeau’s mission should be all about trying to recapture the juice.
For him to take such a cavalier attitude about something that could clearly be so germane to his team seems as crazy as the notion that the Bulls would knock off the team with the best record in the league one night with Derrick Rose playing one of his most impactful games of the season, only to return the next and lose to arguably the league’s most inept squad, even as a returning Jimmy Butler turned in the game of his career.
That’s just how disjointed and inconsistent these Bulls have been. And figuring out how to make them whole again has to start with Tom Thibodeau. For a coach all about grinding it out, it’s now time for him to try a little finesse.
“Everybody has to be on the same page,” said Rose. “Until then, we’re going to continue to get our ass kicked. It seems like we’re not competing and it’s fu**ing irritating.”
Tom Thibodeau has to care when his star player is expressing so much angst. It’s his job to face the issue. It’s his job to straighten it out.
Even if it means going outside of being the man he’s always been.