The Chicago Bulls were a consistent playoff team under Tom Thibodeau. Unfortunately, Thibodeau and management could not see eye-to-eye, leading to their separation. The Bulls would then hire former Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg to be their head coach and lead them into the future.
At the beginning of his fourth season, the Bulls have decided they had enough. Chicago fired Hoiberg as its December slate was starting to be underway. Reactions were all over the place when it came to Hoiberg. There were people who thought he should have stayed and others who thought he should have been fired. The answer may not be what those who wanted him to stay want to hear, but it was time for Hoiberg to go.
The Chicago Bulls are the third-youngest team in the NBA. With that young average age, you would think the Bulls would play with a lot of energy at both ends of the court. Under Hoiberg though, it seemed like they were stuck in mud at times.
The Bulls have a team full of young athletes like Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter Jr, and others, but they were only averaging 12 points per game on the fast break, good for middle of the road in the NBA. Fred Hoiberg seemingly did not adjust with the pieces he was given and because of that, he was not getting the most out of his team.
Along with the tempo of the team, it seemed like the Bulls were not interested in defending either. The youth and athleticism of the team would lend you to believe the effort on that end would be solid. However, the Bulls were lackluster defenders as a whole outside of Wendell Carter Jr., and even he would have some relaxing moments on the court. If you cannot defend, you can’t win games and the Bulls were not very good at defending the ball. With the combination of not being able to score and lackluster defense, the Bulls were not getting any better under Hoiberg.
The defense and offense were the exterior issues, but the internal issues are the ones that get you fired even more. Hoiberg was a laidback coach. He would seem so calm and reserved on the sideline at all times. The prevailing thought about him was he did not have any control of the team in the Windy City from the time he arrived back in 2015.
That was sort of confirmed with the report that he did not have much control of things, including LaVine being able to do whatever he wanted. With this type of lack of control, there is no way a young team will respond to a young coach. With that happening, the Bulls had to make a move and no wonder the offense and defense never lived up to what Hoiberg wanted it to be.
The experiment of Fred Hoiberg as a pro coach was very similar to the Tim Floyd experiment in terms of coaching journeys. Both came from Iowa State to coach the Chicago Bulls, but the only difference was Hoiberg had NBA experience as a player. The whole buddy-buddy connection to the Bulls was a bad idea from the beginning and in the end, it proved a bad move.
It should be interesting to see how this mess works out moving forward, with Bobby Portis and Kris Dunn slated to return, but hopefully for the Bulls, Jim Boylen is able to reign them in and get them going in the right direction this season. He seems to want to pick up the energy and if the way they defended against Indiana in his first game out are any indication, he has the attention of this young Bulls team more than Hoiberg ever did.