Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thibodeau Top Candidate

With the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks and potentially others all looking for new head coaches this summer, Boston Celtics associate head coach, Tom Thibodeau should be at the top of teams’ lists.

Last summer, Thibodeau signed a one year agreement with the Celtics to work with Doc Rivers and his staff. As he finishes his eighteenth season in the NBA, Thibodeau has been a staple of success on NBA benches. This season with the Celtics will be the eleventh time he coaches in the postseason. Unlike his 1998-99 NBA Finals appearance with the Knicks, this time, Thibodeau hopes his Celtics squad ends the season as champions.

As you can see by the numbers, Thibodeau is seen around the league as a defensive mastermind, whose teams regularly finish in the top of the NBA in defensive field goal percentage and opponent’s points per game.


Year Team Wins Losses FG% Rank PPG Rank
1992 San Antonio 49 33 4 9
1993 San Antonio 55 27 4 2
1994 Philadelphia 24 58 16 10
1995 Philadelphia 18 64 27 26
1996 New York 57 25 1 5
1997 New York 43 39 2 2
1998 New York 27 23 2 4
1999 New York 50 32 3 2
2000 New York 48 34 1 1
2001 New York 30 52 13 14
2002 New York 37 45 26 20
2003 Houston 45 37 2 5
2004 Houston 51 31 2 3
2005 Houston 34 48 2 4
2006 Houston 52 30 1 3
2007 Boston 66 16 1 2 2

Thibodeau stresses the importance of slowing opponents’ offensive transition and defending the post. This season, the Celtics led the league in defensive fast break points, allowing only 9.1 per game. Challenging opponents shots and team rebounding are other points that Thibodeau has been known to place great importance on. The Celtics finished second in the NBA this year in opponents rebounds, giving up 38.9 per game.

Player development is another area Thibodeau has received praise. During his career as an NBA assistant coach, Thibodeau has been credited with helping to incorporate Dennis Rodman into the Spurs team, being Jeff Van Gundy’s righthand man in New York and developing Yao Ming in Houston.

This season, he has received recognition for his work with rookie big man Glen Davis and second-year point guard Rajon Rondo. Davis and Rondo have been capable in pick-and-roll defense situations, as well as, their ability to limit their opponent’s offensive effectives. Because of this, both players are expected to play major roles in the Celtics championship run this season.

For teams looking for an accomplished coach to help improve team defense and skill development for their young players, Tom Thibodeau would be an excellent selection as a head coach. Rather than recycling a guys who have already had a chance in the league - such as Terry Porter, Scott Skiles, Rick Carlisle, or Larry Brown – Thibodeau is the one that should get the chance at the top jobs this summer.

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