“Student of the game” is one of those lobotomizing sports clichés that should result in immediate revocation of one’s journalism license, if there were such a thing. No, the thought of Tom Thibodeau tucked away in a secret lair somewhere at the bottom of a volcano like Dr. Evil, single-mindedly pouring over endless spools of film and plotting his triumphant return and subsequent revenge, sounds a lot more like what the former Chicago Bulls coach would do if no team offers him a gig next season.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, the recently pink-slipped Thibs might do precisely that.
Of course, he could be referring to catching up on the Criterion collection. Citizen Kane isn’t gonna watch itself, and Thibs might find a kindred spirit in Orson Welles’ portrayal of a maniacally-driven, self-made man whose myopic, unilateral pursuit of greatness alienated him from everyone around him.
Besides, many of the vacancies have already been filled. His former Bulls officially hired their golden boy Fred Hoiberg today. The Pelicans have given Alvin Gentry the task of ushering Anthony Davis into greatness. The Orlando Magic handed Scott Skiles the car keys in a manner that they assure us was by no mean nepotistic in nature. And the Thunder turned to Billy Donovan to try and keep Kevin Durant as far away from next summer’s free agency frenzy as humanly possible. In other words, all the enviable gigs are drying up.
And with the mean-spirited and passive-aggressive way Thibs was summarily dismissed by an organization to which he brought a level of success and consistency not seen in more than a decade, why should he be eager to jump back aboard that carousel? Job security for NBA coaches being what it is (i.e. nonexistent), surely there’ll be a few more attractive openings by the end of next season.