When Gar Forman and John Paxson made the decision last summer to hire Fred Hoiberg as the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls, they had one vision in mind: With Fred's more modern offense, and fresh voice, he's the missing cog to get the Bulls over the hump and to reach their potential.
But make no mistake: what's transpired this season has been an utter disappointment . Fred Hoiberg hasn't lived up to expectations, at least as of yet. From the beginning Hoiberg failed to get this group of players to buy into what he wanted to do offensively, and schematically in general. That was his first, and by far, biggest mistake. His other coaching flaws thus began to show face as the season unfolded only compounding the mass amount of issues surrounding this team.
Granted, "some" credit can be given to Hoiberg as it pertains to personnel matters. He's gotten Doug McDermott moving in the right direction since the All Star break, and has shown he has the potential to be a viable contributor moving forward. In addition, Derrick Rose is playing his best stretch of basketball in four years. His three point attempts are down this season, and his shot selection has improved, which can be attributed to Hoiberg's relentless film sessions as noted by the Chicago Tribune's, K.C. Johnson.
"Coach Fred Hoiberg revealed an intriguing tidbit when asked about Rose's shot selection. Hoiberg has talked all season about emphasizing the point with Rose.
"But Hoiberg relayed how specific he has been regarding film review on this and other points with Rose."
"I watched the defensive edit with him" 38 minutes before the last game, Hoiberg said. "I tried to do it at 65 and 55 and 45 (minutes) and he kept forgetting. So I finally had to drag him into my office just to hit him on key points going into games."
That being said, Fred does deserve his fair share of blame for how this season has unfolded, that should be made clear. However, it shouldn't fall squarely on his shoulders, not when he was given a flawed roster under such lofty expectations.
Hoiberg was handicapped from the start with this roster. He has an offensive philosophy based on being uptempo with pace and space. While the idea behind hiring Hoiberg was on the right path, so to speak, where GarPax came up short was when they didn't provide Fred with the personnel to match his philosophies. GarPax believed that with last year's roster, they would be able to simply adapt to a new system. You can't fit a round peg into a square hole.
Moreover, there were clear signs of trouble with this roster last season. While it was a team whose names looked good on paper, in reality it wasn't an apt combination. Throughout last season, even to the casual fan, there were signs that something was off with this collective group. It wasn't clicking, there was no chemistry, or hardly any camaraderie that can form a roster into a cohesive unit. Last year's series against Cleveland was the epitome, and nothing has changed since.
Pau: "I don't believe in turning the switch. I believe in habits & patterns & when a pattern is a certain way it's likely to stay that way"— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) March 28, 2016
Yes, Tom Thibodeau's shtick wore thin with the personnel, but it was also the roster itself that needed change too. Although that's not how GarPax saw things as they put last season's failures firmly on the back of Thibs. Blinded by their own egos was the front office duo, failing to see that maybe the players they had brought together were not, in fact, the right combination.
And yet here is Hoiberg, one year later: with this exact flawed group of players, unfit for his system, failing to reach those lofty expectations. When Hoiberg was hired to coach this roster, he was presented with a no-win situation.
As the Bulls continue to spiral into an abyss of misery, surely to miss the playoffs for the first time in almost a decade, there can only be two people to truly blame for this clusterfuck. And it starts and ends with Gar Forman and John Paxson.