Let the era of Fred commence

Let the era of Fred commence

There will be a 2 PM press conference Tuesday to introduce Fred Hoiberg as the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls.

Management have scoured the Earth, turned every rock, flipped every page, and after extensive research, lasting five whole days, they finally found their man, just as Gar Forman promised:

Look, I get it. You can't announce Fred on the day you fire Tom. But the searching for a coach talk was just condescending to everyone. Hoiberg has been rumored what feels like more than a year, and much like everyone knew Vinny Del Negro's second season in Chicago would be his last, reporters and fans got it right again.

Don't mistake my criticism as a lack of excitement for Hoiberg. I genuinely believe he'll do wonders for the organization, but there are elements to the Bulls's communication ideology that I think are poor.

With that rant aside, let's focus on the great part of the news: Hoiberg himself.

The offensive-minded, player-trusting, communication-heavy, commercial-dancing Hoiberg is the polar opposite of Thibodeau, which might be what the team needs in terms of players buying into a system once again. Hoiberg's offense is fast and free, likely benefitting every perimeter player on the team, plus Nikola Mirotic who for a power forward has excellent handles and knows how to attack from the outside and in, whereas questions arise regarding Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah's roles.

With Gasol especially, his post savvy is good enough that you, theoretically, could run some type of "Seven seconds or Gasol" type of offense, where you rush up the floor looking for a quick score, and then dump it in to Gasol if there isn't that high-percentage shot available early on the clock.

From a personality perspective, Hoiberg is rather intriguing. From the latest piece from K.C. Johnson in which Jay Williams was interviewed:

"Fred is a really skilled people person, so he's really good at recruiting," Williams said. "But not just recruiting the younger players who come in as a freshman. He's really good at getting transfers to buy in, even transfers maybe with some troubled history. In the NBA, that's critical.

"The NBA is all about how do you get grown men to buy into what the team is doing? He's been able to do that at a very high success rate at the collegiate level. He's a player's coach. I think you're seeing that trend in the NBA. He'll earn people's respect."

This would undoubtedly be a welcoming asset to the Bulls if Hoiberg can settle restless players with poor histories. If he proves successful in that area, the Bulls could, theoretically, pick up troubled, but talented, players at a discount and set them straight from within. Maybe that's a pipedream, but it's worth considering.

The only thing we know for certain is that Hoiberg will roam the sidelines next season, and possibly for an additional four seasons after that. Let's hope he pulls out these moves at some point:


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  • I still remember Hoiberg as a player during the Jordan era. He was one of those guys that didn't really make much of an impact yet didn't get in the way much either. He was like Mike Dunleavy without the three where most of the time he was invisible on the court. Then again playing with the Dynasty a role players job was easy. Never imagined he would be the coach someday, I'm willing to bet he's thinking the same thing.

    As a college coach he's coming into an better situation than most. This Bulls team is very talented despite the disappointing season. Even with everything that's already happened we're still one healthy season away from competing. I think getting rid of Thibs is a step in the right direction as far as team health is concerned, and I think this team is ready to get away from the gritty grind style of play to a more relaxed offensive approach. It seems Hoiberg is the right guy for the job but only time will tell because he still lacks experience coaching in the NBA but after witnessing Thibs maybe even the whole experience think may be a bit overblown.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    The NBA is turning into more of a dog fight as time goes on. The unofficial rules that once used to set the tone for how games are played no longer seem to apply anymore. Sayings like defense wins games, NBA experience to coach at the NBA level, teams need a big man down low, all championship teams need a big three, the rules are all changing.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    Just for clarification, Hoiberg didn't join the Bulls until after Jordan retired. That being said, he was a role player on some of the worst teams in Chicago Bulls history. So I agree that neither he, nor any of his other Bulls teammates, made an impact on the court.

    Hopefully Fred will be able to push this team to the next level. The guys weren't really playing great defense anyway this past year, so might as well focus on the offense.

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    In reply to BullsMan:

    Yeah I was trying to figure out who he was thinking about.

    Maybe Judd Buchler ( but he was on the first 3 peat )

    Going to have to go thru the rosters again later.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Your right on the money, I was thinking about Judd Buchler. For some odd reason whenever I think of Hoiberg I also think of Buchler. Those guys had a very similar game. My mistake.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    JB was on the 2nd 3 peat.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    Sorry, but Hoiberg never played for the Bulls when MJ was on the team. Look it up.

  • I am cautiously excited about Fred where I feel like the Bulls will follow exactly the same blueprint as the Warriors. I do foresee Nikola taking a starting role with Noah to balance offense and defense. And Pau with Taj from the bench. A big unknown might be the SF position where we still don't have a starting caliber player, where Fred will be forced to start McD, but I don't think he is ready for big minutes yet. Remember, the Warriors went from 51 to 67 wins after replacing a defensive minded coach with a former player coach. Why can't the Bulls go from 50 wins to 65+ wins following the same strategy?

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    Because from 1-12 the Warriors are a much better team.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    The SF position is slightly easier to address because of Jimmy Butler. Since Jimmy can easily play SF(some would argue Jimmy is actually better at the 3 than the 2), the Bulls have the option of getting a 2 guard and sliding Butler down to the 3. Personally I'd rather find a 2 guard and move Butler down to the SF position. I like the Butler and Rose dynamic better with Jimmy at the 3, puts a little more space between your two ball dominating players. However, I'm fine with Jimmy staying at the 2; the main point is, your search is made easier with a pool of talent that includes two positions, not just one.

  • "If it takes weeks, months, (years).. we'll take our time to find a head coach." Gar Forman

    "Everyone has to be open to others ideas, and buy into the culture. Someone didn't, and now it's time to move on." Meddling and controlling owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

    This franchise in executive leadership is a mess. Those comments are beyond contrived and unprofessional. As long as Gar/Pax/Dorf are in charge this team isn't winning jack. They lucked into Rose, and have drafted no offensive stars of long term consequence for the Bulls in their entire tenure. Congrats on Butler who has had one excellent season let's see how long it lasts. Mirotic is a question mark at least as a star player. Top 5 be damned Paxson is a coach choking emotional wreck and Gar Forman is a sniveling, petty, disingenuous control freak.

    People that look at this Bulls team as a contender the offense for the season was so far below the field goal percentage of recent previous championship offenses it's ridiculous to view them in the horrendous East as "elite" more so the cream of the crap.

    Fred Hoiberg who flat out is a personal friend i.e crony of Gar Forman is from interviews I've watched hardly a charismatic or compelling figure. Comparing him to Steve Kerr(who is the beneficiary of an awesome assistant coaching brain trust) is beyond ridiculous. Tying up an estimated $25 million dollars in a former NBA journeyman who has reached one sweet sixteen as a college coach in a major conference is a huge risk. I just wonder what assistant coaches of note in the NBA will want to come here after the Ron Adams heavy handed and capricious firing and now the Thibs public hand wringing termination.

    An aged Noah with a contract albatross, a wildly inconsistent 'star' in Rose who can't shoot beyond 6 feet. Butler who is a good player yes, but other wise what do you really have on this Bulls team of note? Geezes in Gasol and Dunleavy. Guys drafted as three point gunners in Niko and McDNP who as of yet can't shoot(them), and still are both question marks though Niko looks to be a good player in waiting true.

    I'm just not sold on a F.O that acts capriciously and unprofessionally and holds on to players waaaayyyyy the f-ck tooo long. Nor post MVP Derrick erratic Rose and Grandpa Gasol. The only reason this team is viewed as relevant in the post season isn't from proven winning performance, but as a major market/money vehicle in a weak ass, watered down one and done AAU NBA and ineptly run EC. They have no stars whatsoever. Period. I wouldn't be surprised if the cracks begin to show and this team falls apart.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    That's a real possibility.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I'm all for ripping the disgusting lack of professionalism the Bulls FO has displayed over the past week. But RW let's be fair in our deconstructions. You say they haven't drafted anyone of offensive consequence and then go on to qualify Jimmy Butler as such. Players don't show the kind of growth that Butler has and then come back the next year unable to score. It simply does not happen at this level. Mirotic and Butler, both of them, are good offensive picks at this point. Mirotic is more of an unknown, I have to project forward a bit to reach that assumption. McDermott is TBD, I can't rip them on that one yet although I am quite fearful. Teague is really their only bad pick in recent years. Taj wasn't a bad pick, his offensive output is higher than a single player drafted after him that year. Butler's offensive output has been higher than anyone drafted after him, and if his new averages hold, he'll be considered the 3rd best player overall for his draft year(2011) unless Mirotic passes him. Statistically Tony Snell is a good draft pick at this moment, although more data is needed to make any kind of determination. GarPax have drafted well, the problem is that the solid drafting seems to have only begun once they started getting worse picks, you could also correlate the change as coming after Paxson headed further upstairs. Either way, the Bulls FO has gotten more out of their post 20th pick selections than they did out of a litany of earlier picks pre 2009. This trend of only picking well when they have a later selection seems to have been reaffirmed with their latest lottery snafu in Doug McDermott, though I'd argue the verdict is still out on Doug due to the Thibs rookie minutes Atkins Diet.

  • Some things of interest to me:

    - Despite the cries that Reinsdorf has launched a media campaign to smear Thibs, "Chicago media... in his hip pocket" said the always unbiased Jeff Van Gundy, nearly ALL of Chicago media, with the exception of Teddy Greenstein, has been very pro-Thibs.

    - Chicago media kept repeating the mantra that if fired, Thibs would have another job within the hour. Well? While I'm sure he will get another head coaching job, looks like it won't be until next year.

    - I'm a management executive and believe this to be universally true: The higher up you go, the less it is about your technical skills, the more it is about your people skills. Thibs is the best at the technical stuff but a head coach has to be a people person. Same in the NFL -- a great X's and O's guy is better as a coordinator, your top boss needs to be a people person and delegator. Where I'm going with this is that Thibs is all X's and O's whereas Hoiberg is supposedly a people person. This to me means he should be an improvement and more likely to succeed than Thibs.

    - The ex-NBA player stuff doesn't matter to me but because NBA players are by enlarge not the brightest group, it matters to them.

    - Make no mistake, while I think this is a good change, I still feel the Bulls threw up all over themselves in their send-off of Thibs. These guys are consistently terrible at PR.

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    In reply to Roman F:

    I agree w you, but being at the top you have to hire the right X and OS people and hold everyone accountable.

    Let's hope he can finds the right coordinators like Steve Kerr did. ( Kerr also inherited a much more loaded roster )

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I disagree that Thibs was not a "people person." As far as I know the players liked him personally even though they may have resented his long practices. His differences with the FO, IMO, were not personal but philosophical in that Thibs was certain that his formula for winning was better than theirs. Jackson had similar problems with Krause.

    FWIW, IMO, the real great sports coaches are the ones who command the respect of their players with their vision and how they communicate that vision. Vince Lombardi in football and Greg Popovich in basketball were (are) both the "my way or the highway" sort of coaches. When their players understand what that vision is and how to execute that vision, they become admirers of the coach. I think Thibs had a vision also and was able to communicate it. For the most part his players outperformed expectations in his first four years.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Roman, I do agree that, especially in business settings, people skills are often more important than technical skills. You need the technical skills to advance but you will never get the best positions without high emotional intelligence. IMO, they should emphasize this more in education- from first grade through graduate school.

  • I love the incredibly positive well-wishes that Hoiberg has received from his ISU players! Shows that he cares about the players and the players truly love playing for him. If I'm a Bulls player, that would have my attention.

    Would love for the Bulls to trade Noah and play smaller. Gibson and Mirotic can play the 5 when Gasol is not in the game. I'm sure we can sign a 4th big on the cheap.

    Not that I think we could get much for Noah... maybe just not taking back much salary is about all the Bulls can try to attain. Maybe they have to throw in a 1st to make it happen? Noah only has one year remaining and is not healthy at this point.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Exactly, he only has one year left, so why would you trade him for nothing or worse yet, throw away a number one pick. We did that once with Hangdog, but at least that was in attempt to get Lebron and Bosh or Wade.

    If you could trade him(Noah) for a starting caliber wing it might be worth it. Heck, if you can trade any of our bigs not named Niko for a starting caliber wing I'm in, but it's quite likely that we can't since they are all over rated by Bulls fans.

  • We as Bulls fans are still saddled with an inept front office. That being said I am looking forward to a change at head coach. Hopefully Hoiberg will be open minded about using ALL the players on the roster and be willing to put them in a position to succeed.

    I would like to take one last shot at Tom Thibodope. He's being treated like a martyr by many in the media. This myopic, anti-social oaf has no one to blame about his situation but himself. He did not maximize his roster this season and his team quit on him against a beatable Cavs team. He was always a one-trick pony and that pony died. Frankly, I am happy at the way the Bulls unceremoniously tossed his sorry ass into the street. Now he knows how we feel after making us watch Kirk Hinrich get extended minutes in the playoffs. Enjoy watching your game films now, douchebag.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    You are good at taking shots at others. No one can take that away from you.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Hey, Joe Cowley! It's always a pleasant surprise to see your comments here.

    You need a hug, a role model, or something...

  • I was encouraged by the press conference today. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. I felt like Hoidberg knows what he's doing and feel like the organization is on the same page for once.

    One thing that I thought was interesting was when he was talking about each individual player. He talked about Butler like it was obvious he will be a part of the team, but asked Gar if it was alright to talk about Brooks. Can you guess who's not coming back?

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Hoiberg definitely won the press conference... but so did Marc Trestman. I don't judge people by PR, neither positive for Hoiberg nor negatively by GarPax. For a while on this blog, people were bringing up Mickey Aronson's press releases as evidence of what a committed owner he was, then he wouldn't allow the Heat to re-sign Mike Miller.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Trestman seemed much more like the egghead/professor type, that's not the vibe I get from Hoiberg and not his background as a former player. But you are right in that we all thought/hoped that Trestman could bring the Bears offense into the modern age, just as we hope that Hoiberg will do so for the Bulls offense.

  • I'm cautiously optimistic...the Mayor's already won me over by not mentioning Kirk's name at all yesterday!

    Roster-wise, I don't see any major changes until possibly the Feb trade deadline. I do expect either Noah or Gasol to come off the bench; that's the easiest change to make IMO.

  • this team has a lot of talent. butler and rose are one of the top 3-4 backcourts in the league. Gasol started for the Eastern all-star team. Noah was an all NBA center and 2013 DPOY. Mirotic put up unbelievable numbers at times last year. Injuries, inexperience and maybe the wrong fit at coach held them back this year. I am a huge Thibs fan, but he is pretty rigid in his thinking and i don't think he was the right fit for this group. If Noah and Rose come back healthy, this team could win it all. They are not breaking this up, and it wouldn't disappoint me if they made zero moves this offseason.

  • Some great compliments from Reggie Miller, Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh and Elton Brand in Sam Smith's column today at Bulls.com. We really can't ask for more than what those guys have to say about him.

    This definitely feels like a lot better hire than Tim Floyd or Del Bimbo. While Thibs felt like the right hire for the Bulls 5 years ago, this feels like the right hire now, especially with the direction the game is going as exemplified by GS making the finals(and hopefully pulling Lebron to within one finals loss of Magic Johnson, 4 vs 5).

    Bird called him the best he's ever had as a teammate, that's saying a lot coming from him. Surprised to learn that he had football scholarship offers from Nebraska and Notre Dame and also had offers as a baseball player.

    Even as someone who's always been a defense first guy, I'm excited to see if he can finally bring some creativity and excitement to our offense beyond individual one on one play. The 3 point game has clearly become the dominant if not determinant factor in the game and it sounds like his offense is predicated on creating lots of good 3 point shots, early and often.

    The big question that I have is do we have the right kind of players to execute his offensive system/philosophy? We might to be too old slow and cumbersome/injured as currently constructed.

  • IMO, they don't need to change much. They should now trade one of their bigs for a 3 that will better fit with new coach's styl. it's an easy update that will allow him to make the team his own.

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