Nearly at bottom, Bulls fire Hoiberg
The Bulls, at 5-19 entering the week with the third-worst record in the NBA, fired coach Fred Hoiberg Dec. 3.
The team named longtime NBA assistant coach Jim Boylen its head coach.
“After a thorough evaluation, I elected to make this move with the overall development of our team in mind,” Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said in the news release.
“As a team, I believe it is imperative that we make unfaltering strides in the right direction and build the right habits to help put our players in the best position to evolve not only now, but into the future.”
Hoiberg is the second NBA coach fired this season, following the dismissal of Cleveland’s Tyronn Lue. Hoiberg had a 115155 record and one playoff appearance in three-plus seasons with the Bulls. He was in the fourth year of a five-year deal.
Hired in 2015 to help the Bulls transition from the Tom Thibodeau-era playoff teams, Hoiberg was a .500 coach his first two seasons with some holdovers from those Thibodeau teams.
But it was a never easy for Hoiberg, who played and coached at Iowa State, to connect with veteran players. He didn’t always enjoy his foray into the NBA.
However, it was expected Hoiberg would fare better with younger players, and that’s the direction the Bulls were headed with guard Zach LaVine and forwards Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter. Jr. and Jabari Parker.
The Bulls are 28th offensively and 24th defensively. But it’s hard to judge Hoiberg on those numbers because he hasn’t had a full roster, including missing Markkanen, a first-team AllRookie player last season who just returned for his first game following a sprained elbow. Forward Bobby Portis, who has dealt with a knee sprain, has played in just four games.
Boylen, who has been around the league for two decades, gets a chance to guide the Bulls. It won’t be easy. While there are promising players on the roster, it’s also an imperfect one with defensive shortcomings.
The Bulls were 5-19 under Fred Hoiberg this season.