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updated: 10/28/2013 8:50 PM

Let's just hope Thibodeau's style is a healthy one for Bulls

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  • Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau knows only one way to do ... his ... job, and he's not about to change anytime soon.

    Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau knows only one way to do ... his ... job, and he's not about to change anytime soon.
    Associated Press


One day before the Bulls' season opener, Tom Thibodeau already was in midseason form Monday.

Of course, the Bulls' head coach also was in off-season form and preseason form and postseason form and all forms of all seasons in between.

Thibodeau gives the impression that it's all the same to him, every day is, every game is, everything is.

Do your job.

Thibodeau stood with his back to the wall in the Berto Center, but he never is the person with his back to the wall. The only person totally immune from having his head explode by his steadfastness is Thibodeau himself.

No coach anywhere on any level is as self-assured in his methods, so don't expect Thibodeau to be any different before, during or after Tuesday night's game at Miami against the NBA's two-time defending champion Heat.

We're talking about a guy who won't give in to his critics or give up on his principles. That's a good attribute to have; it's a bad attribute to have.

Thibodeau can wear on people around him, from Bulls management to the local media to loyal fans he might interact with.

The question is whether Thibodeau's constantly consistent and consistently constant demands ever will wear on Bulls players, or even worse wear out some of them this season.

The primary public discomfort over Thibodeau centers on how many minutes he keeps his best players on the court in games.

Now, I'm somebody who believes that players play. They're being paid a lot of money to play, and they should play. Yet Thibodeau tests even my patience and understanding when dots aren't connected between players playing a lot of minutes and some of those players breaking down.

There are limits to everything, you know?

It's easy for outsiders to grow weary of hearing Thibodeau's unyielding philosophy and of watching the Bulls hobble around late in the season. If it makes you wonder whether he ever wonders whether he's doing the right thing, a good guess is that it never enters his mind anymore.

The bodies of some players on some NBA teams can endure the heavy workload and heavy-handed approach. The Bulls don't appear to be one of those teams, at least concerning the workload.

The Bulls get to the playoffs and Derrick Rose's knee blows up, Luol Deng suffers from a variety of physical ailments, Joakim Noah's feet are on fire, and some teammates are less than 100 percent more often than other team's players are less than 100 percent.

Thibodeau's mantra is that players must be conditioned in practice, games and their sleep to establish championship habits with little room to waver. So during the final preseason game over the weekend, a few Bulls players played more than 30 minutes while by comparison Nuggets players pretty much prepared for their opener by lounging.

Maybe Thibodeau worked his players that hard because he knew that four nights later they were scheduled to open at Miami. The Heat and LeBron James again are the team to beat for the Bulls, so maybe Thibodeau considers this a big game.

Or maybe both the Heat during the season and Nuggets during the preseason mean the same to Thibodeau, who wants to win every time out and even more than that wants his players to do all things the same all the time.

Last Friday and Tuesday night and a playoff game in April all look sort of the same to Thibodeau and require the same mindset.

Do your job.

For better or worse.

Personally, I hope Tom Thibodeau remains as demanding as he is and the Bulls remain fresh enough to contend for a championship next spring.

Whether the latter is possible is one of the great storylines of this season.

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