Former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and ex-Knicks and Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy reportedly have emerged as the two leading candidates to be hired by the Timberwolves as the franchise’s next head coach, with a good chance either candidate also would oversee the front office as team president. Both have plenty of experience; here is a tale of the tape of sorts between the two:



Tom Thibodeau


Jeff Van Gundy

Considered the favorite to land the Wolves job (after reportedly interviewing recently) and considered by some to be the top available candidate on the market.


A contender who is said to be impressive during in-person settings, and who reportedly was interviewed by the Wolves on Monday.

255-139 (.647) in the regular season and 23-28 (.451) in the playoffs, all with the Bulls. Made the postseason all five years.

Coaching record

430-318 (.575) in the regular season and 44-44 (.500) in the playoffs with the Knicks and Rockets, including a trip to the 1999 NBA Finals with New York.

Was an assistant coach under Van Gundy when Van Gundy was head coach of both the Knicks and Rockets.

Coaching relationship to each other

Brought in Thibodeau as a Knicks assistant during his first full year as head coach and also hired him in his first year in Houston.

First NBA job came as a 32-year-old assistant with the expansion Timberwolves under Bill Musselman in the 1989-90 season.

Coaching relationship to Minnesota

The three head coaches of the Rockets since Van Gundy all have Timberwolves ties: Rick Adelman, Kevin McHale and J.B. Bickerstaff.

His reputation for being a defensive-minded coach is well-earned. The Bulls ranked in the top three in fewest points allowed in four of his five seasons as head coach.

Coaching style

Also known for defensive acumen (the Knicks often were among the league’s best in terms of fewest points allowed) and for being good with X’s and O’s.

Was known for overworking his players, a factor that perhaps led to his demise with the Bulls after the 2014-15 season and a concern he will need to address if he is coaching the young, fresh-legged Wolves.

Biggest concern

His last season as an NBA head coach was 2006-07, and much of his career since then has been spent as a broadcaster. Though he’s still younger (54) than Thibodeau (58), being so far removed from an evolving generation of players is a hole in his résumé.