In his first media appearance since the Chicago Bulls signing of Rajon Rondo and gathering a commitment from Dwyane Wade, head coach Fred Hoiberg showed confidence that he could get the newly formed "3 Alphas" to mesh.
From Hoiberg, per Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson:
"The thing I'm really excited about with our team next year is the amount of playmakers we're going to have. That's what the offense is all about, having guys who can get in the paint and spray it out. We still will try to get as much shooting on the floor as we can. But I'm excited."
Though I truly wonder what Fred Hoiberg's honest feelings are about his revamped team.
Hoiberg didn't exactly get a fair shake in his first season as head coach, but this offseason presented the front office with a chance to reshape the roster, form it to one that could, for the most part, fit Hoiberg's philosophies. It was the perfect opportunity to surround Jimmy Butler with a more complimentary point guard and wing player, and to also get "younger and more athletic" as they say.
The Bulls proceeded by trading Derrick Rose, adding a very solid rim protector on a reasonable deal in Robin Lopez, in addition to a nice point guard prospect in Jerian Grant. That same week, they drafted Denzel Valentine with the 14th overall pick. He's not exactly young for a rookie (22 years old)\, but with his skill set he has the potential to be a very good complimentary piece next to Butler moving forward.
So the Bulls were "retooling," not "rebuilding." Sure.
As the free agency period began, so too did the Rajon Rondo rumors, which eventually led to his signing. Just a few days later the same with Dwyane Wade. This was sort of a 180 degree turn, not what everyone had envisioned when Forman utter those now infamous words, "younger and more athletic."
Yes, this offseason didn't present the most sexy free agents, and the Bulls didn't want to commit long-term to anyone as they prepared for next summer's far better free agent class. It's a valid "plan" I suppose.
Although instead of getting older with less upside, there were quality players available, point guard for certain, as well as young, athletic wings. Players who could've been signed to very reasonable deals, that wouldn't strap the front office long-term, and could've help Hoiberg with his ideals offensively, and compliment Butler.
And yet, as we're heading into the second season with Hoiberg, he sits with his hands tied.
You would never know it though, as he addressed the media before the Bulls summer league debut. Hoiberg downplayed that his pace-and-space offense isn't the only means and that the "3 Alphas" could work, again from K.C. Johnson:
"But Hoiberg strongly disputed the fact that the pace-and-space offense touted upon his hiring is his only go-to strategy. And he's steadfast in his confidence that he can get ball-dominant players not known for shooting to buy in and play effectively together."
"'That's what coaching is all about," he said. "Figuring what the best system is based on your talent. When I was (coaching at Iowa State), I had a lot of fifth-year transfer kids and guys who were in there for one year. The big thing is to make the style fit the personnel. I played a different style pretty much every year, at least the first three.'"
"'It's about molding your system and philosophy to who's going to be on the floor and hopefully play unselfishly. It's still predicated on ball movement. And, again, if you have multiple playmakers, that helps everybody.'"
You have to admire Fred's optimism, even with another flawed group to coach, he's staying positive and looking at the silver linings of his personnel. But having a roster as such, with three ball stoppers, three very different and strong personalities, isn't conducive for team success.
It's not their direct intentions, but what Forman and Paxson have done this offseason, and hell to be honest, even last offseason, is set Hoiberg up on a very difficult path to success. This was supposed to be an offseason where this team turned into Butler's, and Hoiberg was provided with adequate personnel. Instead, GarPax has added two aged, past their prime players, who offer very opposing skill sets to what Hoiball, or ANY OFFENSE for that matter, is supposed to be in today's game.
The idea behind signing Rondo and Wade according to Forman, is "retool by staying competitive in the present to teach winning culture, also keep young guys, picks and financial flexibility." In other words, attract big-name free agents to short-term deals this summer, in hopes that next summer, with more cap room they'll be able lure bigger, more attractive players.
It sounds good in theory.
However, when it comes down to it: signing Rondo and Wade was a short-sighted, money-making move which aptly describes this front office and organization. For a duo in Forman and John Paxson, who had so much disdain for one of the league's best coaches, they've done absolutely nothing to help the replacement coach they've long coveted and wanted so dearly.
When this season rolls around, and the Bulls inevitably struggle to generate open looks, the defense faltering again and drama ensues with Rondo, etc., the first person who will be blamed, much like last season, will be Hoiberg.
But it's hard to succeed at your job when you're not given the appropriate resources. As has been the case for Hoiberg through his first two years on the job. Kudos to him for being optimistic, but he's being hung out to dry at the expense of a front office, and organization who only care about sell outs and generating revenue.