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Butler Needs to buy-in to Hoiberg's offense

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Jimmy and Fred can work, the relationship just needs a little more open-mindedness from Butler.

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Fred Hoiberg's biggest error in his first year as head coach was his inability to get everyone, specifically Jimmy Butler to buy into what he wanted to do offensively. As it wasn't even a third into the season until Hoiberg had to re-install sets from the Tom Thibodeau era for Butler and Pau Gasol.

The result of this was a team whose offense actually regressed from the often-maligned Thibs system, ending the season as the 25th rated offense. With Hoiberg's system failing to come to fruition, the Bulls offense fell stagnant, with heavy doses of mid-range, post isolations and a lack of weak-side, off-ball movement.

But with Hoiberg and Butler heading into their second season together (and with 4 years remaining on their contracts), barring an offseason move involving the latter (which is highly unlikely), both need to get on the same page. Primarily, it's going to take Butler being more open-minded when it comes to this team's offense moving forward.

Listen, no one likes change. It's difficult, and uncomfortable for everyone. And seeing as Butler excelled under Thibs' slower, more structured system, growing a certain level of comfort, it's not hard to see why he was so resistant to Hoiberg's new, uptempo ways. But that doesn't excuse him, not for this past year or moving forward. Being the team's best player, and new face of the franchise, Butler has to be better. He was to be willing to make things work for the betterment of the team, not just himself.

Does this absolve Hoiberg for any wrongdoing on his part? Absolutely not. Fred had his first year troubles, and his inability to get guys like Butler to buy-in falls on his shoulders just as much if not more. But with Butler being the player that he is, and expressing the want to be the leader of this team, he NEEDS to be more open-minded when it comes to Hoiberg's offense.

Fred is trying to put guys in better, more efficient positions to score the ball. His offense, in its ideal stage is supposed to allow more freedom for his players. Reading the defense and finding the open gaps, running the floor and finding the open man in transition. Keep the opposition on its heels as they scramble to the next rotation.

Hoiberg isn't trying to constrain Butler on offense, or limit his abilities. What he's trying to do is put Butler in more efficient positions to succeed. Whether that's setting him up for quicker mid-post isolations, or getting him downhill with the ball faster with drag screens, rather than holding the ball for numerous seconds at a time. Off the ball, it's emphasizing moving without the ball in his hands, something Butler does already. Cutting and finding those open gaps, especially on the weak side. With as much attention as Butler draws offensively with the ball, moving without it will only provide more opportunities for him and the other four on the court.

Though Butler prefers a slower paced, isolation-centric game, he has to realize that that isn't conducive to this team's potential success. Hoiberg's system isn't overly complicated. For Butler, he just needs to be more open-minded with it moving forward in that maybe, it can better utilize his talents so that this team can succeed in the foreseeable future.

The best coaches adapt to their star players, however: those star players need to be accepting of the system in place for things to work. This isn't impossible for Hoiberg and Butler, all it takes is a little bit of willingness and cooperation.

Trust the Process, Jimmy.