MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Being a coach is not an easy job—especially in the middle of a crazy playoff race at the highest level of the game.
That stress is what's got Timberwolves players worried about their skipper, Tom Thibodeau, especially after seeing what it's done to other head coaches in the NBA. Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue took the nearly unprecedented step of taking a leave of absence earlier this week, citing health issues.
Now, with just 10 games to go in the regular season, Thibodeau says he's ready to ramp up the intensity--though that's got some of his players on the lookout.
"I worry about him having a stroke or something crazy because he's so into the game," Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson said Thursday. "Even in practice, we always worry about him."
Despite their concerns, most players say they aren't expecting their coach to go anywhere. Derrick Rose, who also played for Thibodeau in Chicago, says he's even calmed down a bit from just a few years ago.
"Yeah, he calmed down a little bit," Rose laughed. "But he's still serious and anyone that's around him, he makes you love the game even more because of how dedicated he is."
In light of Lue stepping down, the players say it's more important than ever to support each other and their coach, especially as the season comes down to its final few games. The team is set to take on the New York Knicks Friday on the road.
"[Thibodeau] really puts his all into it, there's no tomorrow for [Thibodeau]," Gibson said. "That's why we need to do the best that we can to support him and each other."