With an 11-19 record at the end of December, that included losing Guard, Derrick Rose to another knee injury, then trading Forward, Luol Deng to Cleveland in January, things did not look great for the Chicago Bulls. Callers to local sports radio stations were saying that the team should just break up the roster and rebuild. However, management did not want to do that, and now at the beginning of the first round of the NBA playoffs, with the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, and facing the Washington Wizards, Coach Tom Thibodeau should be adding his second NBA Coach of the Year award to his collection.
“This is what you work for. Eighty-two games is over. A lot of work went into it. I think our players responded well, put us in a good position. We have a great opportunity and now it’s up to us to make the most of the opportunity that we have,” he said.
Part of the reason why the season was saved and the Bulls going 37-15 after December, was Guard, D.J. Augustin, who they picked up off of waivers in December after he was released by the Toronto Raptors to replace Rose on the roster. He did a fantastic job for the team. However, it was also that once again, Thibodeau had the whole team buy into his defensive system and had them believe they still could do something special with the season.
“I just look at it like a team that just didn’t want to lay down. We were going to continue to do that. We still have that same mentality that when one guy goes down, the next guy is going to step up and take advantage of the situation, and I feel that’s what we did. A lot of guys that didn’t lay down and everyone just stepped up their game, 110 percent.” Forward, Taj Gibson said.
Who knows how far the Bulls will go in the playoffs, but for them to even be in the playoffs is truly amazing, and thankfully they have the right man to lead them.