After a season filled with title aspirations and disappointment, Tom Thibodeau was fired by the Bulls. Now, with the new coaching search starting, it’s time to look at potential replacements for the defensive mastermind.
1. Fred Hoiberg - Favorite
Hoiberg has been the coach at Iowa State University since 2010. In that time he has notched an impressive record of 115-56 (.673). He has also led them to two Big 12 tournament titles (back-to-back) and an NCAA tournament Sweet 16 berth. Hoiberg runs an up tempo, fast paced offense, with a lockdown defense. His defense in 2013-14 was ranked twenty-third in the nation in efficiency. That’s right, I said 23rd percent (there are 351 schools in division 1 men’s basketball!). His teams also score at very high efficiency. The Cyclones scored 78.4 points per game this season (tied for 13th in NCAA). He tends to confuse opposing defenses by playing his bigs on the perimeter and his guards in the post. This method can lead to mismatches, which leads to easy points scored. The Bulls have made it clear they do not want to spend big on a coach this offseason, and they most likely won’t need to do that if they snag Hoiberg.
2. Adrian Griffin - Darkhorse
Although Griffin has not been linked as a potential replacement, I still think he could get called for an interview. Griffin has been on the Bulls staff since 2010, and has assisted Tom Thibodeau’s development of the NBA’s premier defense. Griffin is not really known as an offensive minded coach, but Thibodeau improved the Bulls offense this year, which Griffin played a large part in. On the contrary, Griffin would bring many of Thibodeau’s old schemes to his coaching job, which the Bulls will not like. Many people have referred Griffin as “the player-friendly Tom Thibodeau.”
3. Alvin Gentry - Experienced
The right hand man to Steve Kerr, Alvin Gentry had helped lead the Golden State Warrior to a 67-15 record this past season (best record in franchise history). Gentry has had a head coaching job before his latest Golden State stunt. His best head coaching season to date was in 2009-10 when he compiled a 54-28 with the Phoenix Suns and lead them to the Western Conference Finals in the postseason. Gentry loves the offensive side of the ball. When he was with Phoenix he changed their style of play. He likes to move the ball around and look for the open shot. However, Gentry is a mediocre defensive coach. While defense may be a weakness, he did help the Warriors become the league’s best defensive team this season. He has already interviewed with the New Orleans Pelicans for their vacant head coaching job. So, it may be hard for the Bulls to snag him, but keep your eyes open.
4. Mark Jackson - Pricey
Currently an analyst for ESPN and ABC, Jackson was the former head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Even though he was fired by the organization last summer, he compiled impressive records in his first head coaching gig. He led them to the playoffs the last two years, but never made it past the second round of the playoffs. Before he was hired, the Warriors were a bottom five defense but, he successfully propelled them to a top five defensive team. While, they were exceptional on defense, their offense was a weakness. Possessions were lost and they had to rely on the playmaking of Stephen Curry. Ultimately, Mark Jackson will probably be an expensive candidate, and the Bulls aren’t aiming on spending big on a coach this offseason.
-GUEST WRITER - Ian Salinas