“I coached in New York when were the eighth seed and made it the Finals,” Thibodeau said Friday.
Thibodeau was an assistant for the New York Knicks when they made their improbable run from a No. 8 seed to the NBA Finals in 1999. The Knicks knocked off the top-seeded Miami Heat in five games in the first round, swept the Atlanta Hawks in the second round, defeated the Indiana Pacers in the conference finals and finally lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the Finals.
Thibodeau would still probably believe the Bulls were capable of winning a title this season even without that experience, but that 1999 Knicks playoff run is evidence he can provide to support his theory.
“You do the best you can each and every day,” Thibodeau said. “There will be some things that develop along the way; some guys are going to step up. But I have a lot of confidence in our team. I think these guys are serious about the way they are approaching things. They play as a team. I think we’ll continue to improve, and we’ll see how it unfolds.
“You have to put in the necessary work that needs to be done to be successful, and then you take your chance in the end. That’s the way we’re going to approach it. That’s the way we have to approach it.”
Giving Rose space: A few Bulls have reached out to Rose since it was announced his season was over, but they have tried to give him space.
“A couple guys reached out him; we’re just giving him time to give him space to just recover,” Bulls forward Taj Gibson said on Friday. “That’s draining. I’ve been with him most of the summer seeing how he worked. It’s real frustrating. I’m frustrated for him because he puts a lot of work into his game, a lot of work into his body. It’s just one of those bugs.”
Bulls guard Jimmy Butler said he talked to Rose recently, but he didn’t ask about his recovery.
“I talked to him a little bit,” Butler said. “I know how it feels. He doesn’t want to talk about it too much. I just try to be more of a friend, teammate, other than a fan asking how he’s feeling. Just make sure he’s good, how’s his family, how’s his son, just stuff like that.”