Despite establishing himself as one of the best coaches in the NBA, Tom Thibodeau will be under pressure next season. Given his work ethic, passion, and enthusiasm, it probably will not compare to the pressure that he puts on himself.
However, the Chicago Bulls will be completely healthy next season. Derrick Rose remains the one true unknown. Whether or not he can return to his MVP form is yet to be seen, but if he can, the pressure will quickly turn to the head coach.
Thibodeau has yet to see much criticism in his coaching career. As an assistant with the Boston Celtics, he was praised for the great defensive system that he installed that smothered opponents on a nightly basis. Now, as a head coach in Chicago, his defensive nature has followed and has been on full display so far.
While the Bulls have been one of the best regular season teams under Thibodeau’s regime, playoff expectations have been hindered for one reason or another. In his first run through the postseason, Chicago ran into the Miami Heat, a far more superior team. In 2012, as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, they fell to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round after stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah suffered injuries.
If Rose can return and dominate the way that he is accustomed to, the Bulls will easily have the most talented team that Thibodeau has had during his time in Chicago.
With the emergence of Jimmy Butler, the solid play of Carlos Boozer, the consistently impressive Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, and players such as Kirk Hinrich and possibly Nate Robinson if he returns off the bench, Chicago can be serious title contenders.
Expect Chicago to return to dominance the way that they did during the 2011-2012 regular season, but if not, heads may roll.