Monday was yet another disappointing day for the Chicago Bulls franchise. Maybe, not for the people who run the organization, but for its fans, who have been let down for the last 15 years and having nothing more than one Western Conference finals appearance to show for it.
The Bulls made the surprising decision to fire head coach Fred Hoiberg in season. It was clear that Hoiberg was never going to be “the guy” for the Bulls, but not many thought a move would come during the season.
Especially, because Hoiberg never had a chance to coach the Bulls’ young core together. The young core I’m referring to is Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Wendell Carter Jr. Injuries have made it impossible for this Bulls team to be successful.
Gregg Popovich would have a hard time winning games with the current roster. Yet the men responsible for these moves and the hiring of Fred Hoiberg fail to be held accountable. Hell, general manager Gar Forman, who pushed for Hoiberg to replace Tom Thibodeau, didn’t even speak at Monday’s press conference.
Instead, he sat with his buddy Bulls’ president Michael Reinsdorf.
— Tony Gill (@tonygill670) December 3, 2018
Here’s another fun fact: Forman’s wife and Reinsdorf’s wife are close friends. If you don’t think that has played into the Bulls’ decision to keep Gar’s job safe, well then you just don’t know this organization that has been a joke since 1998.
Oh, Gar’s job is safe. John Paxson made that very clear today when he met with the media.
“Gar is absolutely safe.”
Before we get into more of the Gar/Pax hate, let’s talk about Hoiberg, who never had a prayer in Chicago. I’ll be honest, I didn’t like the hire and I didn’t always agree with Hoiberg’s coaching style.
However, Hoiberg never had a chance. Don’t take my word for it, take Steve Kerr‘s.
“Fred Hoiberg today was released by the Bulls,” Kerr said before Monday night’s game against the Hawks at State Farm Arena. “Fred never really had a chance without any talent to work with, to build something.”
The Bulls never gave Hoiberg a fair chance. He wanted young athletic players that could shoot. The Bulls gave him the “three alphas” (Butler, Rondo, Wade) and drafted one of the oldest players in the draft in Denzel Valentine, who is injury prone and has five career NBA dunks (not sure if that stat is accurate, but it feels right).
For this reason, a part of me feels sorry for Hoiberg. He wasn’t the one building the roster. He was basically thrown into a rebuild every year as head coach of the Bulls. No seriously, think about. The roster has never been consistent or created to the strengths of Hoiberg’s system.
It’s hard to comprehend how Gar/Pax still have jobs and Hoiberg doesn’t. Again, Hoiberg wasn’t the greatest coach, but don’t let Gar/Pax trick you. Hoiberg wasn’t the Bulls’ biggest problem. No, having dumb and dumber running the show continues to be the Bulls’ biggest issue as an organization.
Over the last three plus years alone, Gar/Pax have fired Thibs, created the “three alphas,” traded Jimmy Butler and now fired Hoiberg. When is enough going to be enough? How many chances are these guys going to get?
For now, at least one more.
This time it’s Jim Boylen who will have to deal with the wrath that is Gar/Pax.
“I think I’m a more passionate in-game coach than Fred,’’ said Boylen. “You have to put your handprint on it.’’
“This decision was not based on our record, plain and simple,’’ Paxson said. “We were in a similar situation last year at this time. Poor record. But the entire energy about this group was different then. What we’re lacking is an energy and spirit. It’s not as simple as saying we would’ve gotten that with healthy players.’’
Sound familiar? It should…the Bulls’ brass said the same exact thing before they hired Thibodeau. Boylen actually seems to resemble Thibodeau with his passion while coaching during games and the expectations he has for his players on defense.
In case you’re keeping score at home:
-the Bulls fired Thibodeau because of his intensity and passion. He was also considered a defensive specialist.
-the Bulls hired Hoiberg, who was a more softspoken leader and offensive specialist.
-the Bulls fired Hoiberg because there was a lack of energy etc. around the team.
-the Bulls made Boylen head coach to bring more intensity, energy, and passion. Boylen is considered a defensive specialist.
Those four bullet points describe the Bulls as an organization perfectly. This is what they do and they’ve been doing it since Michael Jordan retired (the second time). Until Gar/Pax are no longer running the organization from a basketball perspective the Bulls will continue to be one of the worst organizations in professional sports.
With that, I’ll leave you with some fun (mostly sad) facts.
-Over the last 15 years, John Paxson has hired more coaches than the Bulls have playoff series wins.
-The Bulls currently rank second in all of the NBA in attendance, despite having a 5-19 record.
-Naming Boylen the head coach tells you that the Bulls are not a popular destination coaches want to go to. Why? Awful management.
-Boylen will get better results, but that’s because the Bulls’ young core will be healthy. They were never healthy under Hoiberg.