In ten NBA seasons as a player, Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg was a 39.1 percent 3-point shooter and had four seasons where he finished above the 40 percent threshold in this category, including leading the league with a 48.3 3-point shooting percentage in 2004-2005.
It’s not always true that because you did it you can effectively teach it, but Hoiberg’s success as a player has him qualified to attempt being the Bulls resident “shot doctor”. There isn’t another on staff.
Hoiberg’s most recent patient is point guard Kris Dunn. Per Chicago Sun-Times writer Joe Cowley.
“There was a lot of things that we worked on with Dunn initially,’’ Hoiberg said. “His body position, he really leaned back, tilted his head back on his shot. Was inconsistent with his release point, was inconsistent with his finish as far as his footwork. Those things, it takes time, and it’s uncomfortable at first. When we first started working on his shot he didn’t shoot it well, but he talked about the consistency of it and if he stuck with it, it would get better.’’
Though a small sample, it’s working so far!
Compared to his rookie season, Dunn’s 3-point shooting percentage has improved by almost ten percent (28.8 percent to 38.5 percent) and his true shooting percentage has improved by over five percent (43.2 percent to 48.5 percent). Though still not attempting threes too often, that number is also up: from two to three shots per-36 minutes.
Dunn has received more playing time this year, and he credits the increased opportunities as a big part of his improvement in this area.
He allows me to play with freedom. I think that what Coach [Ed] Cooley did when I was in college [at Providence] and my confidence helped me get comfortable. It allowed me to play through mistakes, and [Hoiberg’s] doing the same thing. It’s definitely beneficial to me.
Through a tiny, 22-game sample, Hoiberg has worked wonders on Dunn’s shot. But is he really a shot doctor? KC Johnson reminded us that Dwyane Wade was a ‘project’ for Hoiberg last season. He did have his third-best 3-point percentage (31 percent) in his one season in Chicago. His true shooting percentage (50.8 percent) was the worst of his career though.
Looking at other Bulls, though maybe they haven’t received the special attention that Dunn has:
- Rajon Rondo had his second-worst true shooting percentage of his career (46.1 percent) during his time in Chicago. However, his little spring hot shooting streak last year vaulted his 3-point shooting percentage to 37.6 percent for the season which was the best mark of his career.
- Denzel Valentine has seen modest improvements in his 3-point shooting percentage (35.1 percent to 38.5 percent) between his year one and year two in Chicago.
- Jerian Grant has regressed from last season (both 3-point shooting and true shooting percentage).
- Are you a believer that Bobby Portis has actually developed a 3-point shot? He’s shooting 39.2 percent on 51 attempts this season, so beware of a super small sample size. His shooting percentage from more than 16 feet from the basket to the 3-point line has regressed, while his shooting percentage from 10-16 feet from the basket has improved. So it’s a let’s wait and see kind of thing.
- Cristiano Felicio hasn’t even attempted a shot further than ten feet this season after showing signs of a budding mid-range game over his first two seasons. Paul Zipser’s true shooting percentage is down 11 percent compared to a season ago.
- Nikola Mirotic first two seasons under Hoiberg didn’t improve his shooting. Rather, he was just painfully inconsistent.
- Michael Carter-Williams had the worst 3-point shooting percentage of his career under Hoiberg. That’s saying something.
- Justin Holiday shoots the ball a lot more in his second stint with the Bulls. But, he’s seen regressions in his 3-point shooting percentage (41.3 percent to 36.5 percent) and true shooting percentage (52.7 percent to 49.4 percent) this season compared to his first one with the Bulls.
- Derrick Rose didn’t shoot the ball well in his one year under Hoiberg (47.9 percent true shooting percentage). Neither he nor Jimmy Butler saw a big improvement in a 3-point shot under Hoiberg.
This is a very roundabout way of saying that there isn’t substantive evidence of Fred Hoiberg being a “shot doctor.” It’s more of a case-by-case basis, and hopefully Dunn keeps with being a successful case.