Ranking The 5 Best Coaches In The NBA

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No. 4: Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls

May 8, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau during the second half in game two of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Thibodeau has been one of the most successful coaches in the NBA for the past three seasons.

In his three seasons, the Bulls have made the playoffs in each year, and they are 157-73. Though he has had much success throughout his short head coaching career, 2012-13 proved to be Thibodeau’s coming out party.

After losing Derrick Rose for the entire season, the Bulls could have packed their bags early on. Instead, they locked up the fifth seed in the East, knocked out Brooklyn and frustrated Miami for five games.

Thibodeau is a mastermind on the defensive end of the court. He drives his players, often through injury (see Joakim Noah and Luol Deng). Even without one of the top five players in the world, Thibodeau took a team with a starting backcourt of an aging Kirk Hinrich and sophomore Jimmy Butler to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Against Miami, Thibodeau beautifully orchestrated a physical and brutal brand of basketball. By playing physically and not allowing LeBron James and Co. to bully them, the Bulls put themselves in a position to compete each game. Often playing without three of their best five players, the Bulls led by Thibodeau, did a heck of a job.

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Tags: Chicago Bulls Erik Spoelstra Golden State Warriors Gregg Popovich Lionel Hollins Memphis Grizzlies Miami Heat NBA Playoffs San Antonio Spurs Tom Thibodeau

  • discus

    Pops “after time out plays” are off the hook.

    • discus

      Spurs ends up with wide open layups (see Kawhi inbounds to TP) or wide open jumpers on those plays. Spoelstra and other coaches “after time out” plays?

      Uh, give the ball to Lebron and get out of his way. ”

      Uh, give the ball to Jordan and get out of his way. ”

      Uh, give the ball to Caramel and get out of his way. “

  • Joe Moore

    San Antonio shoots 53.4 efg% after time outs, the heat shoot 54.5%. This doesn’t include turnovers, but those “Uh, give the ball to Lebron and get out of his way,” plays are pretty effective (also that’s not all the heat do off inbounds). Often, a simple option is just as effective as a complex, intricately designed one. People criticize Spo for having the best player, but there is value in using that player’s skills.

    • John

      I completely agree. Simply having great players doesn’t result in championships. The dynasties over the past couple decades (Magic, Jordan, Shaq/Kobe, Duncan) all had hall of fame coaches at the helm leading hall of fame players.