Editor's note: This is the second in a two-part series on Tom Thibodeau, the former Salem State College player and men's basketball coach who was recently hired as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls.
Tom Thibodeau has already moved on to the next phase of his coaching career.
For the first time in his 21 years in the NBA, he won't be on the passenger side, giving advice to the driver. Thibodeau himself is now in the driver's seat as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, and he can hardly wait to see how it unfolds with a team that won six championships when Michael Jordan was in his prime in the 1990s.
"I like my team," said Thibodeau. "We've still got some pieces to add so I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but I like the way it's coming together."
Until the new season starts, however, Thibodeau, will occasionally replay in his mind this season's NBA Finals. The 52-year-old, who spent the last three years with the Celtics as Doc Rivers' primary assistant, will think back to how things might have turned out differently if center Kendrick Perkins had been available for Game 7 against the Lakers.
That's no knock on the Lakers, who overcame a 3-2 deficit to win the best-of-seven series. But the Celts were a different team on defense without Perkins, who went down with a knee injury when the series shifted back to LA for Game 6.
"It was a great series against the Lakers — just fabulous," said Thibodeau, the former Salem State College coach and player. "Good shots were hard to come by because the defense by both teams was at such a high level.