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Tom Thibodeau

Derrick Rose Is Not Walking Through That Door – Chicago Bulls Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Kirk Hinrich, SG Richard Hamilton, SF Luol Deng, PF Carlos Boozer, C Joakim Noah
Key Bench Players: G Marco Belinelli, G Marquis Teague, F Taj Gibson, F Jimmy Butler
Key Additions: G Marco Belinelli, G Kirk Hinrich, C Nazr Mohammed, F Vladimir Radmanovic, G Nate Robinson, G Marquis Teague, F Jimmy Butler
Key Departures: F Ronnie Brewer, G C.J. Watson, G John Lucas, G/F Kyle Korver, and C Omer Asik
To borrow a phrase from Rick Pitino, “Michael Jordan is not walking through that door. Scottie Pippen is not walking through that door. Phil Jackson is not walking through that door.” True, but as much as the names in the starting five and bench are relatively uninspiring, the two most important names in the franchise today were left off. And as long as Derrick Rose and Tom Thibodeau are in the picture, so are the Bulls.

Of course there is no team that has their season dangling on the word “if” more than the Bulls. When it was announced that Rose was the youngest MVP in the game under seventeen months ago, it was assumed that America would have to count on Rose and the Bulls to be the greatest obstacle for LeBron’s first title. Perhaps the argument that Rose is the greatest obstacle to LeBron still holds water as LeBron handled every competitor he faced last year, but perhaps Rose will never be the same again. As he said earlier this month in regards to coming back, he has literally had to learn to walk again. Estimates have Rose coming back sometime before March, but obviously that is speculative. Regardless of when he comes back, Chicago’s point guard probably won’t be the same player – at least not right away. People might believe that the Bulls will be “trading for an MVP” in adding Rose, but he won’t have the benefits of training camp or in-game competition to build himself up before competing. There are those that believe he may never be the same player again, so don’t expect an MVP caliber player until at least a full calendar year from now.
That being said, the rest of the Bulls are not too shabby. Keep in mind this is a team that went 18-9 in the regular season without Rose last year. Although all of his numbers were down last year, Kirk Hinrich is a capable fill-in for Rose and will be a nice player to eventually come off the

MAMBINO’s NBA Coach of the Year

Everyone talks about how the criteria for Most Valuable Player in any sports league has such nebulous criteria for its winner. What makes a person more valuable than another? How do you measure “value”? What makes “value” in the first place? Is it raw skill? How much he helps his team win? The intangibles of his leadership? Or is it a combination of all of those answers? But to what extent does each of those factors weigh? The MVP is such a tricky award, and why the debates every year are more mercilessly available than Bobcats front row tickets.

This is actually the award trophy. It looks like Dora the Explorer made it.

However, as murky as the waters of the MVP are, the award for Coach of Year may rival it.

What makes a Coach of the Year? Does it go to the man who best defies expectations? Or does it go to the man that best lives up to expectations? Is it the coach who faces the most in-season adversity, or the one that never allows his team to face it in the first place? I’ve been watching the NBA for most of my life, and intently for more than a decade, and I still don’t know the answer.

You might not care about this award, and rightfully so. After all, the very integrity of it has been irreparably destroyed just by the mere fact that Sam Mitchell, Mike D’Antoni and Mike Dunleavy have the same amount of awards as Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson and Rick Carlisle (I went on a longer, more detailed rant months ago, which you can check out here). However, that’s why MAMBINO is here, my friends. Much like Nickeback restored order to the credibility of modern rock n’ roll, your favorite, humble sports blog has come to help inform you the best two choices for the 2012 NBA Coach of the Year. You can’t go wrong with either choice, except for the fact that I’m right and BockerKnocker is dead wrong. Check it out!

Gregg Popovich

KOBEsh: The San Antonio Spurs have been left for dead 4 years running. Just a year after their 2007 championship, every prognosticator and critic pronounced the Spurs’ window not just closed, but shattered and replaced by a new, hi-def TV. Timmy was too old, Manu was too hurt and despite the fact that he’s STILL somehow not even 30 today, that Tony Parker would never be good enough to be the star that made a team a contender. What everyone forgot is that they have the best coach in the league at the helm.

If you gave this award to Gregg Popovich every single year, would anyone have a problem with it? I don’t think so. Whether you like him or not, or dismiss the Spurs because of their drab colors, drab superstars or small-town presence, the fact is that Gregg Popovich has been the best coach in the league for over a decade now. 100% true. The Spurs completely overhauled their offense and personnel last season, moving from a slow, half-court oriented offense revolving around Tim Duncan’s post presence, to a more up-tempo, fastbreak style attack. Popovich led a team many thought would finish 7th or 8th in the Conference to the best record in the West, and a number 1 seed. Poised to dominate the playoffs with the Lakers in a down year and the Mavericks without a second star to help Dirk, the Spurs faced their biggest match-up nightmare, as the 8th seeded Memphis Grizzlies took a buzzsaw to the Spurs’ front line and dispatched them in 6 games.

Coming into 2012 with a hectic, condensed schedule, a shortened training camp and old legs as their primary pieces, everyone predicted the most disastrous results possible for the Spurs (well, except maybe here). Now, here we are, 4 … Read more...