So what did Monday night’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks tell us about the 2012-13 Chicago Bulls? Lots, actually, especially as it relates to Tom Thibodeau.
Thibs suffered the worst defeat of his head coaching career, primarily due to his own stubbornness and refusal to use his bench with his team up 27 points late in the third quarter.
It’s become apparent over the last few games as he’s utilized his bench less and less that the coach just doesn’t trust his reserves and is perhaps even a little upset with management for disassembling his old squad over the summer and giving him very little to work with in terms of new personnel, this according to a recent Chicago Tribune report.
Of course Thibodeau hasn’t come right out and said that he’s disenchanted with the newest members of his team, but he doesn’t have to. They way he’s played them – or not played them – of late says it all. He shortened his rotation to just eight players on Monday and several bench guys like Nazr Mohammed, Vladimir Radmanovic and rookie Marquis Teague, haven’t seen any action in quite some time.
The “all hands on deck” approach that most felt would be necessary in order for the Bulls to compete in the absence of Derrick Rose, has given way to Thibodeau stubbornly folding his arms and refusing to play guys who don’t fit within his defense-first system.
Playing devil’s advocate, you can see why Thibs is frustrated with certain new members on his roster, but at the end of the day, the object of the game is to win at all costs. Basketball is a game of rhythm and guys lose theirs by sitting on the bench watching instead of participating.
The Bulls have no shot at a championship this season, but they do have a chance to win games, perhaps even the Central Division, and certainly make the playoffs. But none of this will happen if Thibs continue to burn out his starters with heavy minutes and leave other guys rotting on the bench.
Even though he may not be pleased with his new players, they’ve all proven that they deserve to be in the NBA and Thibs has said so himself. So why not let them play?