Home » A decade later, Tom Thibodeau’s faith in his former Bulls is unwavering

A decade later, Tom Thibodeau’s faith in his former Bulls is unwavering

It was exactly ten years ago Monday that Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson and Tom Thibodeau won their first playoff series. Rose, the league’s MVP, dropped a cool 25 points on the Pacers despite foul trouble. Gibson logged 30 minutes and fouled out. Thibodeau was on his way to Coach of the Year.

Those Bulls, it felt, had the bones of a dynasty. But very little went according to plan.

Which brings us to today.

After all the twists, trades, dismissals and knee surgeries, the trio is reunited again in New York and somehow producing the same shocking results that raised expectations a decade ago. The bar is lowered for the players’ individual production — especially for Rose — but Thibodeau found something he appreciated and tapped the well.

“One thing is they have a lot of deposits,” Thibodeau said. “We’ve been through a lot of battles together.”

Derrick Rose reunited with Tom Thibodeau in the Big Apple and has helped the Knicks to surprise season.

This is all relevant because the Knicks are wrapping up their season series Wednesday with the Bulls, the franchise that jumpstarted this partnership and housed it for five seasons. Thibodeau later brought Rose and Gibson to the Timberwolves, and this season pushed the Knicks front office for their acquisitions.

There was certainly concern about the fits of a 35-year-old Gibson and a depreciated Rose on a young and rebuilding squad, specifically whether Thibodeau will favor his short-term favorites over the development of draft picks. Remember those fears of Rose snatching Immanuel Quickley’s minutes?

Four months into this season, even the skeptics have to admit it’s been a resounding success. Gibson was signed on a minimum contract and is contributing significant minutes to one of the league’s top defenses. His value and significance increased with Mitchell Robinson’s injuries.

Rose has been a revelation and recently graduated to finishing games at point guard, supplanting Elfrid Payton in that role. Quickley’s up-and-down rookie campaign hasn’t been hindered by Rose’s presence. And if anything, Obi Toppin plays better with Rose.

“(Gibson and Rose) are great guys, they’re team-first guys. And I thought that was important for us to get this thing off the ground,” Thibodeau said. “And based on the way Taj played last year here, I kept close tabs on him, and I knew in the locker room, I knew what he means to a team, he’s the ultimate teammate, as is Derrick. So if you want team-first guys, you want hard-playing guys, you go out and find them.

“They both have proven that, they’ve both had a lot of success. You look at their overall winning percentage throughout their careers, it’s very high. So I thought having guys that have won in the past it would be an important part of this.”

Rose is averaging 20.2 points in his last five games while shooting 61%. There were concerns his body couldn’t handle heavy minutes and he fades after a threshold in the 20s, but he’s managed over 30 minutes in four of his last five appearances.

The added load is necessary with Alec Burks shelved because of COVID. And Rose has stepped up.

Thibodeau has seen it before and he’ll always be a believer.

“I think the one thing about Derrick — whenever he’s been healthy he’s been an excellent player in this league. And I think that holds true to this day,” Thibodeau said. “The only time he hasn’t really performed was when he was injured. Other than that, he’s been a very high level player for a long time.”

Source (Ny Daily news)

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