I've been fairly ambivalent about this Fred Hoiberg hiring for the same reason I think a lot of fans are: it just all seemed fait accompli even before the reports of Tom Thibodeau's relationship with the front office further deteriorating to untenable.
And because for just as much reason why we can't be sure the Bulls didn't fire Thibs for petty non-basketball reasons, the perception has been earned that Hoiberg has this job mostly (if not entirely) because he's friendly with the Bulls GM. Hoiberg has been speculated for this job since Thibodeau's seat became barely warm, the rumors intensified as the season progressed, and now the complete lack of a coaching search seems to have cemented theories that this has been planned for a while.
It's relatively inoffensive that the Bulls pretended like this wasn't their plan on Friday, but the farce of a 'coaching search' was just another reminder that the mentioned 'Bulls Culture' that Thibs supposedly poisoned has always been a crock. This is generally widely acknowledged, but what's more important is if they didn't hire the right guy.
If we are to infer some basketball reasons for Hoiberg's hire, they come pretty naturally. Hoiberg's purported to be a more even-keeled communicator, whose youth and relatability will be in contrast to Thibodeau. He's also purportedly an 'offensive-minded' coach, whose teams at Iowa State did well offensively and at a fast pace. This is also, coincidentally (since he was getting the job anyway) or intentionally, antithetical to ThibsBall.
So while that will undoubtedly play well at today's press conference, I have to remind myself not to be won over by that performance. Because as much as Hoiberg's background more aligns with Tim Floyd, it's actually a different Bulls hire that has me skeptical, at least until the actual games begin.
We're talking a guy who the bosses liked as a communicator, someone who'd help the younger players:
"As I went through (the search process), I was looking for a lot of different qualities," Paxson said. "But I think our guys last year did not play with any confidence. They were kind of beaten down.
"I was looking for someone who had leadership ability, who could communicate and bring them to a higher level on the basketball court, because I believe we have talent. I thought something was missing last year and a lot of it was the passion and enthusiasm of our players on the floor."
"Offensively, there's no question my philosophy is to play the game fast and quick. With young players, they have a tendency to try to play fast but be in a hurry. They have to take their time.
"When you play fast, there's an unpredictability to basketball that makes it exciting and interesting. We're going to have to get the percentages in our favor with the unpredictability. But the defensive resolve, we'll start with and try to play at a fast pace and put players in positions to succeed."
If you didn't click those links, maybe it's because you already knew who this refers to, and remembering Vinny Del Negro is frightening. Without this harrowing reminder, I admit I would've been susceptible to be losing my shit with excitement today if Hoiberg said what VDN did above.
(Remind me not to buy in after the first practice either.)
The thing is, no coach starts his tenure by promising to play slowly and boringly. They all promise a smart, quick offense and a stout defense. Scott Skiles even actually played his offense quite fast (it was more boring due to the shot locations...). Heck, remember this?
Offense will start with defense and rebounding to get into the open floor and get easy baskets. After that flow into a secondary action after that we'll go into different sets to take advantage of the personnel we have.
It's basically every new coach, but specifically thatt's Tom Thibodeau accepting Gar Paxdorf's rose (and Rose!) in 2010.
Of course, Thibs had a track record of an emphasis on defensive basketball, just as Hoiberg has one for offense, albeit for neither one had done so at this combination of level and status. For as scarily as Paxson bought into the apparent king of the job interview, Vinny had no real track record at all. Fred Hoiberg has proven more, but still has a lot to prove still, if this is going to be more than another coaching gaffe made by those same people who've done similar things before.