Losing gets NBA coaches fired. It doesn’t matter how much management preaches patience. It doesn’t matter how ill-equipped the roster is. Losing gets NBA coaches fired.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg – who went 115-155 in four years, including 5-19 this season – learned that lesson today.
The Bulls announced Monday morning that Hoiberg, who was hired in 2015, has been relieved of his duties. Associate head coach Jim Boylen will take over for Hoiberg.
“Decisions like this one are never easy to make,” VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson said in a press release. “However I felt this was the right choice for our organization at this time. After a thorough evaluation, I elected to make this move with the overall development of our team in mind. As a team, I believe it is imperative that we make unfaltering strides in the right direction and build the right habits to help put our players in the best position to evolve not only now, but into the future. I want to thank Fred for his dedication and efforts, as well as for his enduring commitment to our team.”
Hoiberg, a former NBA player whom Chicago hired from Iowa State, showed little reason to believe he’s a worthy NBA coach. He frequently had issues communicating with his veteran players. His offenses never took off as hoped, and though he never got ideal personnel for a ball-movement system, only the very best NBA coaches get catered to that way. The rest must adjust, and Hoiberg didn’t nearly well enough. Chicago ranks second-to-last in points per possession this season.
This is a blow for Bulls general manager Gar Forman, who spearheaded hiring Hoiberg, and – to a degree – Paxson. Chicago’s front-office leaders ran out Tom Thibodeau, and made clear Hoiberg was there guy. Thibodeau has his problems, evident with the Timberwolves. But Hoiberg has proved to be a bad bet. How many more coaching hires will Forman and Hoiberg get?
Don’t confuse Boylen with Jim Boylan, who took over the Bulls when they fired Scott Skiles during the 2007-08 season (and took over the Bucks when they fired Skiles during the 2012-13 season). This is Boylen’s first NBA head-coaching gig, and as he learns on the job, expect an immediate jolt then the Bulls to continue toward a high draft pick.