The Chicago Bulls have their guy — Fred Hoiberg officially will be introduced as the new coach of the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday. Bulls GM Gar Forman was an assistant coach at Iowa State when Hoiberg starred for that team (before his 10-year NBA career), that long-standing relationship was the foundation upon which this deal would ultimately get done.
But what kind of coach is Chicago getting?
In a lot of ways, the anti-Thibodeau.
“He already has the demeanor of an NBA coach: He’s not a yeller or a screamer, he’s not a recruiter or a salesmen, he’s not born to be a CEO of a program,” Rob Dauster of our sister site CollegeBasketballTalk.com. He’s even-keeled, the kind of guy that will let players do whatever they want as long as they understand that mistakes — on and off the court — mean the bench.”
Hoiberg is considered a players’ coach, but not in the “they can do whatever they want” way. More in the Jeff Hornacek or Brad Stevens way — guys who don’t let their ego get the better of them in making decisions.
Hoiberg also an offensive minded coach who will bring the Bulls out of the old-school, conventional system they have been running.
“Offensively, he’s brilliant, running sets that thrive on creating space and isolating mismatches, which is what the NBA game is all about these days,” Dauster say. “I think he’s going to have a lot of success at that level.”
A more creative offensive system was one of the things the Bulls had said they wanted from their new coach.
Another thing the Bulls said they were looking for was a communicator — which was not-so-subtle code for “someone who listens to us.” Unlike Thibodeau. Someone who will engage with the front office on the matter of reduced minutes for Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, and Jimmy Butler. Someone who will give Nikola Mirotic, Tony Snell, and Doug McDerrmott more run to build up the bench. Hoiberg will do all that. He spent three years in the Timberwolves front office; he understands that side of the desk. He also understands getting guys to play to their strengths.
“The biggest reason that I think Fred Hoiberg will have success in the NBA is that he understands how to manage talent,” Dauster added. “There’s a reason that so many talented cast-offs from other programs found success in his program.”
The Bulls front office finally got they guy they wanted.
Although, there is one caveat:
The NBA is a bottom line business, and Thibodeau delivered on the bottom line. He is a defensive innovator and a Team USA Coach. Thibs teams won. Yes, he wore down players, and that could have hastened injuries. Yes, some of those same players were pretty burnt out on him by the end. But they won for him.
For all the communication, no matter how much better he utilizes players and reduces minutes, no matter how creative the offense, if the team doesn’t win things could turn ugly in Chicago.
And that will be on the front office, too. This was their move.