Chicago Bulls

Easy to rip Fred Hoiberg but Bulls’ problems rooted in poor drafting, development

A year ago this week, Bulls star Jimmy Butler urged coach Fred Hoiberg to coach harder.

On Wednesday night after another listless loss dropped the Bulls to .500, Bulls guard Dwyane Wade essentially asked Hoiberg to coach smarter.

‘Tis the season for giving the young Bulls coach grief.

You wonder if all Hoiberg wants for Christmas is his old job back at Iowa State, where his strategy received far less scrutiny and players endorsed his message more than they ignored it. You suspect Hoiberg deserves better than to have the onus of another unsatisfying Bulls season fall mainly on his shoulders, which are slumping lately.

Nobody expects the Bulls to call a Christmas Eve news conference, as they have done in the past, and fire their head coach. But the past week has underscored the challenges Hoiberg has faced since arriving for his first NBA head-coaching gig in June 2015 looking like an innocent from Ames, Iowa. Hoiberg’s easy smile has been replaced by a mask of tension.

As if awful efforts in back-to-back losses to the Bucks were not indicting enough, Wade’s comments after the Wizards game amplified doubts about Hoiberg, even if that wasn’t the savvy veteran’s tone or intent. Even if the issues at the core of Wade’s non-threatening critique extended well beyond his coach’s control.

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