NEW YORK – Gar Forman and John Paxson obviously had numerous issues with former head coach Tom Thibodeau, including making it known through certain media outlets that they wanted Thibodeau to give the younger players on the roster more playing time.
And while second-year coach Fred Hoiberg wasn’t going to comment on what took place before he was given the chair, Hoiberg insisted that all decisions on playing time and the rotation are made by him and his staff, and that group alone.
“Yeah, it’s up to us,’’ Hoiberg said. “How they’re practicing will determine who the guys that will get the opportunities, and they have left that up to me, left that up to our staff to determine who we’re going to have out there in the rotations.’’
A facet of the job that Hoiberg also believes a coach needs over the front office.
“Yeah, I think so,’’ Hoiberg said, when asked if that freedom is a necessity for a coach. “I think you have to have that communication, and ultimately it’s up to the coaching staff to determine who we put out there on the floor.’’
Hoiberg is unique in that he has seen all three sides of that argument at the NBA level. He was a player, and then an assistant general manager with Minnesota, and now the head coach for the Bulls.
So he gets that there’s definitely a balance of developing youth and doing it so it doesn’t lead to losses.
“It’s an 82-game season,’’ Hoiberg said. “Everybody is going to get opportunities at some point over the course of the year. I’m confident in that. All 15 guys, just with the different scenarios that will come up over the long haul.
“I kind of compare it to my situation. I played every possible role you can play on an NBA roster. I sat on the bench, I was a 12th man, I was a starter. I played every different role possible. The one thing you have to do is keep yourself ready when your name is called. I’m confident that we’ve got a group of guys that will do that when called upon.’’
As far as the idea that Thibodeau didn’t develop youth to the liking of Gar/Pax, well, Tony Snell was the perfect case study of that being false.
Snell actually played in more games and was more productive under Thibodeau, before it became evident last season under Hoiberg that Snell and the Bulls didn’t have a future together.
The former first-round pick was moved to Milwaukee two weeks ago in the Michael Carter-Williams deal, as the front office had to come to the realization that the 6-foot-7 forward hit his talent ceiling long ago.
YouTube is filled with video of new Bulls center Robin Lopez having physical confrontations with mascots – mostly in good fun – usually with the 7-footer somehow laying the smack down.
Hoiberg was asked about it on Monday, and didn’t seem to mind Lopez’s history.
“As long as it’s not coach assaults,’’ Hoiberg said laughing.
What the coach wasn’t concerned with was the work ethic he’s going to get from his center once the game starts.
“He was always a guy, hard hat, lunch pail type of player who went out and did his job,’’ Hoiberg said. “We haven’t seen anything different. He’s always on time, been great as an example for our young guys. He’s been a really good teammate.’’