The Chicago Bulls are once again a middle of the road team battling for a low seeded playoff spot.
The Bulls have slipped in terms of regular season record under HC Fred Hoiberg, but even before that the downturn happened. The last time the Bulls had a truly dominant team with a chance to win it all was the 2010-2011 season when they won 62 games. That year they reached the Eastern Conference Finals where they lost to LeBron James and the Miami Heat. The year after Derrick Rose tore his ACL in Game 1 of the NBA playoffs and the Bulls were never the same team. The following four years after reaching the ECF they were eliminated in the first or second round of the playoffs. So, the question for fans becomes how much more mediocre do you take under this organization?
Going from a HC like Tom Thibodeau who was able to command his team and take them to the playoffs to Fred Hoiberg who does not seem to have control of his team is rough. In five seasons with the Bulls Thibodeau’s lowest win total was 45 in 2012-2013 season. Hoiberg has only two seasons under his belt, but his best is 42 last season. Now, it is hard to compare five seasons to two, but it can be seen there has been a drop off in terms of coaching.
Yes, the talent is different for each of these teams and part of the blame does land on the Front Office. Even so, on the court performance is where the coach who needs to bring the most out of his players. Through two seasons it is hard to see where Hoiberg has done this. Hoiberg is a much less vocal coach than Thibodeau was. On a team with a few veterans and many young players this can be tough. As a coach he needs to gain the trust of the players who will follow his game plan game in and game out.
As easy as it can be to blame the Head Coach for all the problems it falls on the Front Office as well for the players they draft and sign to build the team. Many times in the five seasons with Thibodeau they brought in players that didn’t always fit the defensive mind of his style. In the two seasons with Hoiberg they haven’t done much better for him. Saying they wanted to get younger and more athletic, then signing Wade and Rondo is not the way to win over the fans of coaching staff in believing in your plan. With no direction fans can get behind, it is time for a change in organizational leadership top to bottom.
In a day and age where it is becoming the norm to turn around teams quickly, or take them over the top the Bulls seem to be going in the opposite direction. They had built a contending team, and then with unfortunate injuries and bad Front Office decisions they have regressed into a middle of the road team. It has been too much for the Bulls, and if changes are not made soon it could be a long road before they ever contend again.