As everyone in the city knows by now the Tom Thibodeau led Bulls were a team that prided themselves at getting back on defense and being one of stingiest, toughest teams to play against on a nightly basis. The Bulls unfortunately lost that edge to some degree and the lack of an overall scoring punch was felt throughout the time Derrick Rose was absent from the court. Thibodeau grew out of favor with the Bulls front office because of this and today former Iowa State Cyclone coach and former Bulls Guard Fred Hoiberg was was hired as the next coach of the proud franchise.
In Ames Hoiberg turned the program around immensely when he entered in 2010. By the end of his tenure the Cyclones had been to the NCAA Tournament four times with back to back Big 12 Championships to boot. As the Cyclones head basketball coach he finished with a mark of 115-56 (.673%) in the regular season and a conference tournament record of 49-39(.557%) reaching the Sweet 16 once last year.
The obvious boost for Holberg was his close relationship with Bulls GM Gar Forman, but also his ability to play an uptempo brand of basketball that was key in his success at Iowa State. Hoiberg brought in college recruits with the idea that they’d be able to play a fast pace pro style offensive game that allowed them to excel at their positions. Hoiberg was lauded for his ability to communicate with his players, something John Paxson said was key when finding a new voice for a Bulls franchise that has been bounced by a Lebron led team in four of the last six playoffs.
Hoiberg should help the Bulls offense a little, but re-signing Jimmy Butler and getting a full season out of Derrick Rose would be a bigger help than hiring an offensive minded coach. Many national columnists including Jeff Van Gundy who’ll be on the telecast of the Finals has been very vocal in their displeasure of how the Bulls handled the Thibodeau situation. Granted the Bulls did get demolished in Game 6 against the Cavs which probably didn’t help Thibodeau’s situation, but in the end the Bulls were a bad offensive team. The addition of Gasol was good but the Bulls need to get more from their bench players including two first round draft picks of the past couple years. Had Tony Snell and Doug McDermott been effective, they could’ve allowed the Bulls to get to a Game 7 or perhaps allowed Chicago to wrap it up in six at home.
Hoiberg needs to get the most out of his players offensive abilities because the Bulls have spent the last couple first round picks on guys that are meant to be scorers and sparks. That hasn’t been the case, and with the decline of the defense and the inability to get a healthy season out of the franchise player, the blame can’t all be put on Tom Thibodeau who was seen as a lame duck coach no matter what the outcome of the season had been. Forman and Paxosn need to accept some responsibility and it’s believed that that is why national pundits are slamming the way this situation was handled. Thibodeau didn’t draft the two scorers and he didn’t control whether or not Rose played. His job was to best point the team in a direction which he saw fit based on the resources he had. A cupboard that was bare of offensive weapons. These moves led to the eventual firing of a coach that wasn’t totally to blame for the lack of success but also not totally absolved of it. Hopefully Fred Hoiberg knows this taking the reigns as the head man of a team that wants to hang a banner.