Things have not been easy for Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau of late, but there are several reasons that should be taken into consideration before his firing.
Get ready for an unpopular opinion…
Tom Thibodeau should remain the coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Now, before you roll your eyes and hit the back button, hear this out.
He has been the scapegoat whenever something doesn’t work out, and after only one season at the helm, he deserves a chance to improve. There are definitely criticisms that are warranted, but Tom Thibodeau has been a victim of a fanbase that is desperate for success after years of heartbreak.
Thibs deserves to be kept on and given the chance to continue showing what he can do to help the Timberwolves turn things around and further their success.
Thibodeau’s quick success with the Timberwolves
Tom Thibodeau did something very few coaches have done in all of basketball and should be remembered for it more than the drama that has surrounded the team since.
He took control of a team stuck in a rut and turned them into a playoff team in one season, ending the season with a 47-35 record, something only Flip Saunders has done for the franchise, and no Wolves coach has come close to that total in his first season in charge.
Thibodeau is also the only coach not named Saunders to take the Timberwolves to the playoffs in one of the most competitive conferences we’ve seen in years — something that should be given more credit and remembered by fans and ownership.
How many coaches can you find that can not only bring in the talent he did, but make the team come together to make the playoff? Also, keep in mind that the Timberwolves were without Jimmy Butler down the stretch of the regular season and had to face the 65-win Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs.
Had neither of those things happened, their record would’ve been better and they very well could have advanced past the first round of the playoffs.
The drama is not all on Thibs
Yes, the Timberwolves have had too many negative storylines that make them every bit the part of a good candidate for a tabloid than a sports blog.
However, the blame starts at the top with Glen Taylor and the players. Thibodeau has done a good job keeping the drama at a minimum since the Jimmy Butler practice incident and hasn’t pointed fingers or thrown anyone under the bus. He has handled every challenging situation well and remained professional through the ups and downs.
Instead of cracking under the pressure and turning the players against him, he has managed to motivate the team to play together and keep things civil.
The record doesn’t just fall on the coach, and Thibodeau deserves more credit for the job he has done in the face of adversity he didn’t necessarily create.
Thibodeau put the team together
If Thibodeau is shown the door, the Timberwolves will have to acknowledge that Thibs did indeed have a heavy hand in building the roster. Most of the players are familiar with his system and have thrived under him, such as Derrick Rose and Karl-Anthony Towns.
If he is suddenly replaced, it would set the Timberwolves back further than most teams would be when changing coaches. While he has received a lot of criticism for his roster moves and “Timberbulls” concoction, he has crafted a better top-to-bottom roster than any other coach in Timberwolves history, including Flip Saunders.
For the record, I am not saying he is a better coach than Saunders, but Thibodeau has proven throughout his career that he can turn around a team and keep a team playing at a high level better than most coaches in the league.
While he is not a perfect coach, Tom Thibodeau still deserves a chance to turn things around. Being a head coach in the NBA makes you the poster-child for criticism when things don’t go a team’s way, but his short body of work with the Timberwolves deserves a deeper look and further consideration.
While he has made mistakes just like every other coach might from a challenging position such as his, but Tom Thibodeau deserves to stay on Minnesota’s bench moving forward.