Bulls: Tom Thibodeau finishes 7th in Coach of the Year voting


Bulls: Tom Thibodeau finishes 7th in Coach of the Year voting

Tom Thibodeau's fifth season with the Bulls may have been his most trying, with Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler all missing extended time with injury.

But the Bulls still managed to win 50 games and earn the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, and for those reasons Thibodeau's name appeared on the NBA's Coach of the Year voting, announced Tuesday.

Thibodeau finished 7th in the voting, earning one first-place vote, one second-place vote, and a pair of third-place votes.

[MORE: CSN Chicago's complete Bulls playoff coverage]

Thibodeau won the award in his first season with the Bulls, when he led Chicago to an NBA-best 62-20 record.

Atlanta's Mike Budenholzer narrowly edged out former Bulls point guard and current Warriors head coach Steve Kerr for the top spot.

Milwaukee's Jason Kidd, head coach of the Bulls' first-round opponent in this year's playoffs, finished third in the voting.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Earlier in the week Nikola Mirotic, Aaron Brooks and Taj Gibson all received votes for the Sixth Man of the Year Award, which was won by Toronto's Lou Williams.

Below is a list of the final voting.

2015 NBA Coach of the Year Award Voting

1. Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta (513)

2. Steve Kerr, Golden State (471)

3. Jason Kidd, Milwaukee (57)

4. Brad Stevens, Boston (50)

5. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio (38)

6. Kevin McHale, Houston (13)

7. Tom Thibodeau, Chicago (10)

8. Quin Snyder, Utah (7)

9. David Blatt, Cleveland (3)

10. Doc Rivers, L.A. Clippers (2)

11. Terry Stotts, Portland (2)

12. Rick Carlisle, Dallas (1)

13. Dwane Casey, Toronto (1)

14. Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix (1)

15. Monty Williams, New Orleans (1)

Jimmy Butler may have gotten uninvited to the Wade's BBQ again


Jimmy Butler may have gotten uninvited to the Wade's BBQ again

Jimmy Butler is in hot water with the Wades ... again.

Maybe not really, but the two former Bulls teammates exchanged pleasantries on Instagram after Butler commented on a photo Dwyane Wade's wife Gabrielle Union posted poolside, saying: "WELL DAMN!!"

Wade, a three-time all-defensive second team, came to his wife's defense when Butler posted a video the next day with the caption: "The good, the bad, and the ugly...", prompting Wade to respond: "Put well damn in caps on my wife photo again and you're gonna see what the good, the bad and the ugly is like."

*Mic drop*

It appears this won't affect Butler getting an invite to the next get together. Or so he hopes...

"Well that escalated quickly," Butler responded to Wade. "Point noted.. I'm still coming to the bbq tho 😂😂😂"

SI names Lauri Markkanen a top-five candidate for a breakout season

SI names Lauri Markkanen a top-five candidate for a breakout season

Lauri Markkanen has been making headlines this offseason, mostly for bulking up considerably, and making appearances around Chicago at Nike camps and Jabari Parker’s camp, but as the season nears, his on-the-court exploits are starting to come up as well. On Thursday, Sports Illustrated put Lauri Markkanen on their list of five breakout candidates for the 2018-19 season

SI writer Michael Shapiro had this to say about Markkanen:

Markkanen has all the tools to be a future All-Star, and it looks as though he has the mindset, too. He seemed to take his matchup with Porzingis personally in early January, demanding the ball down the stretch en route to a career-high 33 points in a road victory. The Bulls enter 2018-19 on the outside of the East playoff picture, but Chicago is now home to the NBA’s newest unicorn.

High praise indeed for Markkanen, and well-deserved praise considering that he finished with a usage rate lower with the Bulls than his college stint at Arizona, yet still was able to have an impact on the Bulls. Shapiro mentioned Markkanen’s burgeoning off-the-dribble game as the skill that most stood out, and speaks to the Finnish big man’s All-Star potential. 

While the 21-year-old’s threes lived up to the hype, it was his prowess of the bounce that made the biggest impression. Markkanen showed a deft handle and array of canny fakes in the post, adding a mean streak to boot. The Finnisher lived up to his nickname, unafraid of contact and eager to fight for position in the post. The stereotype of the soft European big man doesn’t apply here.

The numbers back this up. 

Among the Bulls top 10 players in drives per game last season, Markkanen finished second in field percentage (on drives) at 46.1 percent. If that numbers rises, or more likely, Markkanen drives to the basket more, his scoring total will increase. And when it came to finishing around the paint in general, he shot  67.6 percent on shots from zero-to-three feet, making him the third best in that range out of the Bulls top nine rotation players last season. Yet among the same group of players, Markkanen ranked sixth in shot attempts from zero-to-three feet. With the presence of Wendell Carter Jr., and another year of internal growth from Bobby Portis- bigs that can stretch the floor -Markkanen should be the recipient of more plays putting him in a position to score around the basket.

On a roster that will surely give big minutes to Parker, Kris Dunn, Carter, Chandler Hutchison and a working-his-way-back to form Zach LaVine, Markkanen may be surest 3-point shooter on the floor. This means defenses will key in on his outside shot. If players are routinely closing out hard on Markkanen- as they should -this will open up more driving opportunities for the nimble seven-footer. 

The third or fourth season is usually when young players take the leap from good to great, but Markkanen will be playing with the most talented group of teammates he has ever been surrounded with. How he handles playing with this group will go a long way towards establishing what kind of player he will be in the future, specifically if he is an All-Star caliber talent. On the 2018-19 Bulls, someone will have to hover around a 20 percent usage rate, making them a clear third-option, whoever that player is, his last name should not be Markkanen.