By Tim Baffoe–
Note: none of this happened, angry rubes who take Facebook memes at face value, but I have to make this disclaimer because stupid people ruin everything.
(CBS) (I’m on tiptoe trying to to see over the McDonald’s partition to make sure the staff is n’t putting onions on my McRibs when I notice Minnesota Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau standing a few feet away scrutinizing his receipt.)
Oh. Oh, hi, Thibs. Wow, man, it’s… it’s nice to see you, man.
Gosh, it feels like forever, but it’s only been, what, a year-and-a-half? We miss you here in Chicago, man. No, no, really. Honest.
So how you been? You look… you don’t look well, dude. I mean, time is undefeated against us all, but are you taking care of yourself? Ha, I mean, yeah, we’re both here by our lonesomes getting fast food, right? That woman behind the counter I think has your order ready there. No, the three sandwiches aren’t … OK, it’s just that she’s staring at you.
But you look really tired for December, Thibs.
It’s the 6-18 start in Minnesota, ain’t it? Yeah, that’s … that’s rough. I’m still on the Wolves bandwagon, though. You guys are my Western Conference team, buddy.
Hey, let’s grab a table, huh? If we eat together, my two McRibs, large fry and nuggets will offset your order in embarrassing-ness.
So what the hell is wrong up there? You guys were the darling pick going into this season. Bunch of crazy talented kids pulling the sled with you mushing them. You the stern taskmaster and them too young and naive to push back against your, um, I mean, let’s be honest, Thibs, if you didn’t fall in love with basketball you’d probably be the foreman of a sneaker sweatshop in Java. But this new gig seemed so right.
It’s the defense, isn’t it? Always the defense. You thought super-talented guys like Karl Anthony-Towns, Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins were going to take to your junkyard dog style like (attempts to snap fingers, BBQ sauce hampers it). I heard Stephen Noh talking about it:
Thibodeau’s defensive schemes rely heavily on positioning. He made famous the technique of icing pick-and-rolls, requiring guards to force the ball to the side and take away the middle of the floor.
The Wolves’ guards have not been very good at positioning their bodies to prevent penetration to the middle, and their problems have been compounded because their big men have been out of position just as frequently and unable to protect the rim. Big men Gorgui Dieng and Karl Anthony-Towns are young and show promise. But they aren’t currently anywhere near the defensive anchors that Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were, and that ability to cover up mistakes just isn’t there.
That would explain the bags under your eyes. Are you showering regularly, Thibs? OK, OK, I believe you.
Hey, let’s talk about the return to the United Center on Tuesday night, though. You nervous? Anxious? Oh, shut up, don’t give that “Just another game” crap. I know you. I heard what Taj said about your vindictiveness against teams you used to work for.
“He used to tell us in the locker room, ‘You got to hate those guys. You got to stick it to them,'” Gibson told the Tribune. “So I know he’s going to make them bring it.”
This is going to be so delicious for you, isn’t it? C’mon, isn’t it?
Yeah, there’s that old Thibs I know and miss. Can’t blame you either. The way the Chicago Bulls canned you was so low rent. I mean, that icy press release when they fired you in May 2015? So said chairman Jerry Reinsdorf:
“The Chicago Bulls have a history of achieving great success on and off the court. These accomplishments have been possible because of an organizational culture where input from all parts of the organization has been welcomed and valued, there has been a willingness to participate in a free flow of information, and there have been clear and consistent goals. While the head of each department of the organization must be free to make final decisions regarding his department, there must be free and open interdepartmental discussion and consideration of everyone’s ideas and opinions. These internal discussions must not be considered an invasion of turf, and must remain private. Teams that consistently perform at the highest levels are able to come together and be unified across the organization-staff, players, coaches, management and ownership. When everyone is on the same page, trust develops and teams can grow and succeed together. Unfortunately, there has been a departure from this culture.”
Could they have been more catty?
I get why this is going to taste like blood for you on Tuesday night. Not gonna lie — a big part of me is rooting for you in that game. Like, I’m still a Bulls fan, but Fred Hoiberg is so … let’s just say if he were here he’d be the guy who gets a fish sandwich when it isn’t Lent. And a small vanilla shake.
Anyway, I shouldn’t talk out of school. It was really good bumping into you, Thibs.
I, um, I just wanna say that … I never stopped, um…
I’m being so silly here. Gosh. Maybe next season when the Timberwolves visit Chicago, the McRib will be back and we can catch up.
Um, good luck. Against the Bulls and, ya know, with everything.
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimBaffoe. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.