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When is Fred Hoiberg going to stop playing dumb and save himself instead?

unless he’s not playing...

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NBA: Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder
“hey look we won the 4th quarter”
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Just a quick thing I’ve been thinking about as we’re a dozen games into this PATH and it’s as awful as reasonably predicted: how long is Fred Hoiberg going to keep making himself look like a dummy in his justification of his bad, undeveloped (downright regressing) roster?

The past 4 games have seen the Bulls in huge holes to start games, with halftime deficits of -20, -10, -16, and -24.

It’s pretty much meaningless to show effort when already down huge, where Bobby Portis can seize his dream back and you can win quarters or halves. Bulls head coach, grasping at straws to be positive (I guess?), has been citing this as success. I mean, I still can’t get over this:

Being ‘competitive’ isn’t looking like you’re playing hard in garbage time. That’s by definition a non-competitive result. It’s more on the opponent taking their foot off the gas and playing their scrubs influencing the competitiveness than whatever you’re doing. You can say that the effort improved, but acknowledge that it’s meaningless.

And then there’s these vaunted practices. Hoiberg’s gotta stop with this stuff. Here was his assessment while the Bulls had several days off before putting up 7 points in the opening quarter in OKC.

“Right now, we’re playing harder in practices than we are in games. That’s going to have to change.”

And the team, even young naive Lauri Markannen, has been seemingly infected with this as well:

I asked Markkanen what Hoiberg’s message to the team was considering they’re not playing up to their ability at the moment. "If we’re competing at the level that we’ve been practicing in some of the games, then we’re going to win a lot of basketball games," he said. "We got to give ourselves a chance and come out of the gate and just play hard."

Hoiberg’s gotta stop this stuff: For one thing, it makes him look like an idiot. Either he’s wrong in assessing that these practices are actually good, or he’s right that they’re full of ‘effort’, but unable to comprehend that it looks relatively good only because they’re practicing against fellow Chicago Bulls. The reason it wont translate to the games is because, typically, actual NBA teams are in these games.

And I don’t think it serves the players much either. There’s something to be said for being positive for positivity’s sake (or so I’m told...), but if you’re consistently being told you’re doing well and rewarded with minutes, how do you even know that you need to improve?

I don’t see what Hoiberg has to lose with telling the truth more and outing a lot of these players as not good enough. It would help his image, could be motivational for the players (who seem awful ‘entitled’, and that’s what supposedly got Niko’s face wrecked), and send a shot to the front office that they need to do better.

Now, this may not happen for a bit still, because Hoiberg is especially screwed with absences to productive (ish) guys like Justin Holiday and David Nwaba, and Zach LaVine will....well, he’ll shoot a lot when he starts his rehab season. But the team is currently so dreadful, especially noteworthy with an offensive guru like Hoiberg helming a unit that’s not only the least-efficient but slowest offense in the league, that Fred may start looking out for himself soon.

It may have started a bit in praising GLeague-r Antonio Blakeney as ‘one of the few’ shot creators on his team. But if this continues to trend down (not just being bad - that’s THE PATH- but awful to watch and not developing useful pieces), perhaps Hoiberg starts to realize he’s not seeing this thing through: GarPax will toss him under the bus like they’d do to anyone that isn’t themselves. Start shifting the focus to upstairs, start to say you can’t win with these guys, and even the practices haven’t been great.