As most of us expected, about two weeks after Game 6, Thibodeau was replaced by newly appointed head coach Fred Hoiberg. Let me give you some background information on Hoiberg. Before he was selected to take the job of head coach for the Bulls, he held the same position at Iowa State, in which he was very successful. Under his leadership, the Cyclones made four straight NCAA tournament appearances.
Hoiberg is very different-minded compared to Thibodeau when it comes to strategy. Thibodeau was a defense strategist, a skill which the Bulls already have so much natural talent. Hoiberg, on the other hand, is more of an offensive specialist, a skill that the Bulls have seemed to organically lack. The Bulls scored 100.8 points per game last year, which was 15th in the league, meaning they have room to improve, and likely will, under Hoiberg’s offensive system. Many players already have fallen in love with it.
“You can’t really make a mistake in it,” says Doug McDermott about Hoiberg’s offense. Taj Gibson also commented on it, saying “how exciting” it was switching from Thibodeau’s offense to Hoiberg’s.
Hoiberg might also be using a different lineup approach this year, starting Nikola Mirotic ahead of Joakim Noah. This simple lineup switch, something Thibodeau could not seem to do, can turn the Bulls into title contenders for two reasons. One is early offense. Noah is not a natural scorer, however, Nikola can score in the post as well as spread out the floor. Even though his 3PT% was low last year at 38.5%, he has the potential to make big shots. And remember, this was under Thibodeau’s flaw-filled offensive scheme.
Hoiberg also starts off in a great position with the Bulls. He has the same talented roster to work with from last year, plus 6’11” forward Bobby Portis, a very talented rookie that lead an Arkansas team to a NCAA tournament bid last year. He can play at the small or power forward position, but his preferred position is power forward. He can score very well, averaging almost fifteen points per game in summer league play, and he is a very aggressive defender. He will definitely be a great addition to this team for years to come.
Add all of these things together with the backcourt tandem of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, and it looks to be a very exciting season for the Bulls. So buckle your seatbelts Chicago, because it’s gonna be a fun ride! Beep beep!