The Chicago Bulls have probably been one of the most surprisingly successful teams this NBA season, currently sitting as the four seed in the Eastern Conference. The reason that this is so surprising is that the Bulls lost their two best players this season, Derrick Rose to an injury and Luol Deng to a trade.
Despite these unfortunate circumstances the Bulls have managed to persevere and make the playoffs and there are plenty of reasons why.
The first and most important reason has to be the genius that is head coach Tom Thibodeau. I have said it once and I will say it a thousand times: Tom Thibodeau is one of the top three coaches currently coaching in the NBA, period. He is only behind Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs and Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers.
When Derrick Rose went down, many people wanted the Bulls to just give up and throw away the rest of their season. However, with a great leader like Thibodeau at the helm that simply is not going to happen. Thibodeau managed to find the right buttons to press to make his team motivated and play to the best of their abilities. This is extremely impressive given the fact that the rest of the country is constantly telling the Bulls that they do not have a chance to win an NBA title without Derrick Rose.
A great coach cannot do it alone- capable players are still necessary; thankfully the Bulls have just that in Joakim Noah.
Noah is arguably reason number two that the Bulls are going to have home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs this season. Pretty much all season Noah has been playing the best basketball of his career, racking up numerous triple doubles in the process.
Noah has proven to be the perfect player for a Tom Thibodeau-coached team because he shares an unrelenting desire to win and play great defense along with coach Thibodeau. There almost seems to never be a moment when Noah is not giving his maximum effort and that has gone a very long way towards the Chicago Bulls’ success this season.
The third main reason that the Bulls are where they are has been the stellar play of backup point guard D.J. Augustin. When he was signed back in December to fill the gigantic void left by Derrick Rose, I was very skeptical. It is safe to say that Augustin has surpassed every Bulls’ fan’s wildest expectations with his spectacular play off the bench.
When Augustin comes into the game to fill in for Kirk Hinrich the Chicago Bulls have a much different feel to them. Augustin is a far more superior offensive player than Hinrich is, which is very valuable to a team that can struggle to score the basketball at time like the Chicago Bulls.
So there you have it, the three main reasons for the Chicago Bulls making the playoffs, Tom Thibodeau’s leadership, Joakim Noah’s unrelenting desire to never quit, and D.J. Augustin’s greatly exceeding expectations.