ORLANDO -- Usually it's Jeff Van Gundy who sings Tom Thibodeau's praises to anyone who will listen. After all, Thibodeau served as an assistant to Van Gundy in both New York and Houston. But before Friday night's game between the Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic, it was Jeff's brother, Stan, the head coach of the Magic, who went on about just how good -- and fortunate -- Thibodeau has been since landing in Chicago with the Bulls.
Stan isn't sure why it took Thibodeau so long to get a job, but he knows that the longtime assistant was lucky to get the job that he did.
"There's all kinds of different reasons people get jobs," Stan said. "I think in the long run, and I would hope Tom would see it this way, even though it took him a long time and he probably had some frustrating moments along the way, he was a lot more fortunate than most guys. Because when he got his job, he got a good one. And a lot of guys, particularly guys who are assistants, unless they sort of move up where they are, get bad jobs. And it's tough to win and they're not there very long and everything else. Tom had to wait, but he got a good job."
When joining the Bulls, Thibodeau was given a roster that had much talent on it already.
"He got a team that had just been in the playoffs and been in a hell of a seven game series with Boston not long before that," Stan continued. "These guys had had some success. He got a great young player in [Derrick] Rose. They went out in the offseason and got [Carlos] Boozer. Guys were starting to mature as players. He got a great job. And he's done a great job with it. It's not like he just got lucky. He took what was a good situation and made it great. I think he's as good as anybody in this league."
Thibodeau doesn't want Rose to change: Rose said after Friday's shootaround that he wouldn't change his game against Howard, despite the fact that Howard knocked Rose out of two games two years ago. That's just the approach Thibodeau wants him to take.
"Bumps and bruises are part of the game," Thibodeau said before the game. "That's going to happen. I don't want him to change who he is. He's an attacking guy. He gets hit, he gets up and he goes. And he'll go again and again and again. That's who Derrick is. That's what makes him so special."
Stan believes Rose is special as well, but isn't sure just how much he has improved so early in the year.
"It's early," Stan said. "Look, the guy was the MVP last year. He's playing very well right now, but that's not like a big surprise. I'm sure he has gotten better and will get better because he's got a great work ethic and wants to get better. But I can't tell after seven games."
What he does know is that Rose probably won't be limited by his elbow injury.
"We'll try to chop at it as much as we can," Stan said sarcastically. "I don't know how you game-plan for an injury. I've never really understood that."
The last word: Stan, on if his brother Jeff, will ever come back to coaching.
"50-50. He likes what he's doing now, but I think he misses [coaching]. I think he misses the competition and the whole process of coaching. So it's certainly possible."