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Chicago Bulls Looking at the Big Picture
Tom Thibodeau is among the most intense coaches in the NBA. He is a defense-first leader who never lets up in practice or games. He wants the Chicago Bulls to win every game and he wants them to get better every time they take the floor.
That's why his reaction to Derrick Rose's turf toe that has also resulted in back pain is fairly remarkable. Thibodeau has shown patience. He has gone along with team doctors and management in giving the reigning NBA most valuable player the chance to take time off and rest. Thibodeau understands that needs his superstar at full strength—or at least as close to that level as possible—for the playoffs.
The "win now" mentality is difficult for a coach like Thibodeau to suppress, but he has been forced into adjusting his thought process because players up and down the roster have been injured. Through the first 31 games, the Bull have only had their starting lineup together in five games. Richard Hamilton, Luol Deng and C.J. Watson have all joined Rose on the sidelines.
Thibodeau never stops working and looking for the best combination he can put on the floor for a given game. The adversity the team is facing now may make the team stronger in the postseason because they will find new ways to overcome problems and deficits that they didn't have last year.
Deng understands that aspect of the game. He knows that the Bulls are at their best when everybody is healthy, but he's not afraid of having to compete when they can't play with a healthy roster. "It's better that we're going through what we're going through now," Deng told the Chicago Tribune. "It will make us a better team."
This indicates that the Bulls and their coach are going through the maturation process. Thibodeau would have had a much more difficult time not playing his Most Valuable Player a year ago. Both Rose and Thibodeau want to win every game but both are smart enough to understand that the NBA does not hand out championship rings in the middle of February.
The patience shown in the middle of this strange and compacted season may pay huge dividends in May and June.
Chicago Tribune—Bulls shaking off injury woes
Chicago Sun-Times—Derrick Rose certain he'll ride out back trouble
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