So, was it the right decision? It seems like it was after the Bulls 5-19 start this season. A change was needed, right? Did the right person get fired? Should it have been Gar Forman and John Paxson to get the ax? Did Fred ever get a fair chance to implement his system and show what he was truly capable of? The injuries that seemed to pile up on this Chicago Bulls team had to hold Fred back from reaching his full potential, right?
Questions. All a lot of Bulls fans have is questions. The fact is, this marriage was doomed from the start. When Fred Hoiberg took over this team in the 2015-2016 NBA season he took over a team essentially in shambles.
Derrick Rose was a shell of his former self, Joakim Noah was hurt, and Jimmy Butler was emerging as a star who seemed to detest the change Fred was implementing. The team finished 42-40 and ended up missing the playoffs and the next offseason saw the departure of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
That first season had its fair share of drama as well. Joakim Noah and Fred Hoiberg ended up not seeing eye to eye over Joakim losing his starting job. Derrick and Jimmy struggled to play together and had trouble buying into “Hoiball”
The second season was full of nothing but drama. Rajon Rondo and Dwayne Wade were brought in, which both of them do not fit Fred’s system at all. Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade seemed to have become the locker room “bullies” (pun intended) and questioned teammates and Fred at every turn. They finished .500 and were a first-round exit after Rondo went down with an injury in the playoffs.
Now it starts getting interesting. Entering the 4th season of the Fred Hoiberg era the front office picked a direction. They traded away star player Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach Lavine, Kris Dunn, and the 7th pick which turned into Lauri Markkanen. John Paxson and Gar Forman started to construct a roster that resembled what Fred needed to succeed. Players that can spread the floor and find their teammates. A team that can shoot threes at a high clip and often. Though Zach Lavine was going to miss half the season because of an ACL tear, the team had some talent to compete in games.
Then Bobby Portis knocked Niko Mirotic’s lights out in training camp. Now, the team that was finally built for Fred to succeed was dealing with locker room drama. The team went on to only win 27 games and found themselves in the draft lottery.
Entering this year the Bulls have started 5-19. Lauri Markkanen was injured in training camp, Kris Dunn has only played one game and Bobby Portis was hurt early on in the season. Injuries have riddled the team that was built for Fred. So, did he ever get a fair shot? Probably not. But there is one reoccurring issue that Fred had to deal with in each of his seasons as Bulls head coach.
Having his decisions being questioned by his players. Joakim Noah questioned Fred. Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade questioned Fred. Zach Lavine and Jabari Parker have questioned Fred.
Then GarPax questioned Fred. The guy that was hand picked by those two, lost faith in him. John Paxson cited the teams “Competitive Spirit” wasn’t where it needed to be.
The fact is Fred maybe didn’t get a fair shake, but he never showed he could lead either. Constantly being questioned by your players doesn’t scream leader by any stretch of the imagination. Now, it’s time to look at this organization as a whole.
Now that Fred is gone, how many more times to Gar and Pax get to fail with their head coaching search? Sure these guys can draft well, but they need to find a leader who can bring it all together. Let’s hope that Jim Boylen is the guy because if GarPax fails this time, the next boot should be to those two.