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Thibodeau defensive about major minutes for Noah, Deng

Dec 15, 2012, 2:31 PM EDT

Tom Thibodeau AP

Joakim Noah is playing 40.1 minutes a game, a healthy jump from the 30.4 points per game we saw last season.

Luol Deng is playing 41 minutes a game (but he did play more than 39 a game the two previous seasons.

With Derrick Rose out, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is leaning heavily on his stars — Deng and Noah are playing more minutes per game than any players in the NBA. It’s working, Bulls are 12-9 and tied for the lead in the Central Division.

But is it too much?

Tom Thibodeau doesn’t thinks so and got defensive when asked about Noah. Via ESPN Chicago:

“Look, here’s the thing, OK?” he said. “I sat on the opposing bench when Phil [Jackson] was coaching the Bulls. I used to sit there and say, ‘When’s he going to take those guys out, because I don’t want to see them on the floor.’ He never did.”

About the jump of Noah’s minutes in particular Thibs was unconcerned.

“No,” Thibodeau said. “It doesn’t matter. He’s in his 20s.”

I get why Thibodeau is doing this — he wants to win and he doesn’t have a lot of options and players to lean on. And he’s right, this is a young team, but you can wear them down. There’s a reason coaches like Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers rest players late in the season. Thibodeau doesn’t have to worry about the minutes in December, but he might want to think about his rotations after the All Star Break.

  1. raidmagic - Dec 15, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    This is the same reason Rose is rebhabbing and not playing. Tom has no idea how to manage minutes. Probably his biggest down fall as a coach

  2. glink123 - Dec 15, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Popavich and Rivers both have star players (Garnett, Pierce, Duncan, etc) who are in their mid-to-late 30s. Thibs has players still in their 20s, more than a decade younger. This is a non-issue. Jordan and Bryant HATE (hated, in MJs case) coming out of games. If Noah or Deng get tired, they’ll pull themselves out.

    • pudgalvin - Dec 15, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      Hell, Jordan played 39 a game when he was 34. Kobe played 5 seasons playing over 40 minutes a game. Maybe not a apt comparison as they’re two of the greatest ever, but still. However, I think Noah’s minutes are going to need to be adjusted at some point. He’s a big guy that hasn’t made it through too many seasons healthy.

      The real issue is that Thibs won’t take Lou out of a game when they’re ahead by 15 with two minutes left, even if Lou has played 40+ already. He leaves him in when the Bulls are ahead 20 in the 3rd quarter. In the game where they blew the 30 point lead against Milwaukee, he played 47 and a half minutes, despite the Bulls being ahead between 15 and 25 for the first 20 minutes of the second half. In a 3 in 4 days, Lou played 42, 41 and 43, and they won the middle game by 20. I know the Bulls are good because of the way Thibs is, but you’re eventually gonna get in trouble playing guys this many unimportant minutes.

  3. funktron2x - Dec 15, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Oh good lord. This isn’t football, people. Guys in their 20s have plyed 40 minutes a night forever. Trends du jour by Pop et al don’t have a lot to do with young guys running heavy minutes. Sheesh. Manufactured drama for the drama queens.

  4. glink123 - Dec 15, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    exactly. like 5 minutes a game is going to matter.

    • doctorfootball - Dec 15, 2012 at 3:58 PM

      Over the course of a season it does.

  5. glink123 - Dec 15, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Check Kobe’s minutes. 17 years in the league, and he’s plays 38.5 and 38.1 minutes a game over the past two seasons, while averaging 36.5 for his career. This, after knee issues. Yet he’s still one of the most durable players in the entire Association.

  6. rajbais - Dec 15, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    I am surprised that his defense is not “my general manager screwed me over by not bringing back CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer, and Omer Asik”.

    Thibodeau technically has a good record and is a good coach, but I have been disappointed in him since the middle of last season. He seems to know nothing about body preservation and offensive creativity.

    He’s obviously better with Derrick Rose and is doing a better job with this depleted team versus what Vinny Del Negro did when he first inherited the Bulls, but they might need to make a trade to improve the scoring on this team. The only issue is what scorer can they get before the trade deadline and how can he fit into the rotation and be productive when Rose is healthy again.

  7. asublimeday - Dec 15, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    This is the same reason Rose is rebhabbing and not playing. Tom has no idea how to manage minutes. Probably his biggest down fall as a coach
    ———
    Fatigue has nothing to do with the durability of ligaments. It was a freak accident

    Do your research before typing for the sake of seeing your words on the screen.

    • raidmagic - Dec 15, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      Yes a freak accident that didn’t have to happen. The game was over and there was no reason to have Rose on the floor in garbage time. No research needed I watched the game

  8. dal24la - Dec 15, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    “Joakim Noah is playing 40.1 minutes a game, a healthy jump from the 30.4 points per game we saw last season”
    He is playing 40.1 minutes, a healthy jump from 30.4 minutes, not points.
    SMH. Honestly Kurt, the lack of proof reading in your articles is amazing. It seems like every article has a simple error that a quick proof read could fix.

  9. asublimeday - Dec 15, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    “Joakim Noah is playing 40.1 minutes a game, a healthy jump from the 30.4 points per game we saw last season”
    He is playing 40.1 minutes, a healthy jump from 30.4 minutes, not points.
    SMH. Honestly Kurt, the lack of proof reading in your articles is amazing. It seems like every article has a simple error that a quick proof read could fix.
    ——-

    He’s not nearly as bad as Gregg Rosenthal was with PFT. Thank The Lord that guys gone. It was like reading a dyslexic sixth graders writing.

  10. itsthemelman82 - Dec 15, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    Let that man coach his team! The Bulls are probably the most mentally tough team in the league because of Thibs. When he has a roster of guys in their mid 30’s, then talk to me about limiting mins.

  11. glink123 - Dec 16, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    Belinelli looks pretty solid plugged in at the two. Rip needs to come off the bench when he returns from injury. Or, IF he returns from injury. The guy is called Rip, after all.

  12. mrbiz8505 - Dec 16, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Rivers and Pop are coaching a bunch of dinosaurs…… Bad comparison

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