Fred Hoiberg is already feeling the pressure in his second season

SHARE Fred Hoiberg is already feeling the pressure in his second season

Gar Forman wore his summer tan well.

The general manager was in good spirits during Monday’s media day, looking very comfortable with his standing in the franchise.

John Paxson? Same story for the Bulls’ VP of basketball operations. Intense as usual, but no sign of stress caused by job security.

Sure, the two men can talk about accountability, but accountability only reaches so high in the Bulls organization, making Gar/Pax all but immune.

Second-year coach Fred Hoiberg?

He doesn’t share that luxury.

Ending an eight-year playoff run like the Bulls did last season comes with consequences. Considering Hoiberg was a rookie coach last year and just one season into a five-year deal, the blame game shifted to the roster.

There’s a reason Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah are now in New York, and Pau Gasol is a Spur.

However, the Bulls are running out of places to point the finger. No wonder Hoiberg is admittedly feeling the heat.

“Sure, yeah,’’ Hoiberg said, when asked if he was feeling pressure. “I put a lot of pressure on myself. This is a high-pressure job, and I understand that. And again, nobody looked at this thing harder in the offseason than I did, and was harder on themselves than I was. I know that I have a job to do, to try and put these guys into position to go out and win basketball games, and that’s my sole focus, to go out and do that.

“But yeah, the pressures in this job are very high. And again, after games, win or lose, you go back and watch the film and try and make the necessary adjustments.’’

Atop that adjustment priority list for Hoiberg is making sure the communication between coach and player is alive and well.

There were some struggles in that department last season, whether it was Hoiberg and Noah disagreeing on the big man’s benching or Jimmy Butler publicly neutering Hoiberg by insisting he needed to coach harder. Neither was a good look.

This summer, Hoiberg has had frequent talks with Butler, as well sitting down with new veteran additions Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade.

“I told Fred, ‘As much as you can, use me as an example. I want you to really get on my tail about every little thing,’ ‘’ Butler said Monday. “Because if Doug [McDermott] or Tony [Snell] or whoever it may be is watching coach talk to me like that, it’s going to be like, ‘If he can talk to Jimmy like that, I know he’s going to come at me a certain way.’ That’s what I try to remind him every day. I think he’s ready for that. I’m a player. I’m coachable like everybody else. I want that. I need that.’’

And if this is going to work Hoiberg needs to supply that.

Sure, the defense needs to be better, the team needs to play harder and with more toughness, but Hoiberg needs the respect of the locker room first and foremost.

“The big thing about making this work is having communication,’’ Hoiberg said. “I’ve had really good conversations with Rajon, with Dwyane. We’ve watched a lot of film together and shared ideas. Does that add extra pressure? No. I feel a lot of pressure, and any coach that sits in this chair on media day is feeling the same way. So you go out there and you try putting your guys in the right positions, and I’m confident we’ll do that.’’

The Latest
Shohei Ohtani sparked a ninth-inning rally with a leadoff double, and Munetaka Murakami hit a walk-off, two-run double to lift Japan over Mexico 6-5 on Monday night.
The possible indictment of Donald Trump, a former president and candidate for president in 2024, in a hush-money probe in New York, would be a first for the nation.
Mitchell was exploited on three Avalanche goals as the Hawks lost 5-0 on Monday. Plus, Jack Johnson describes his trade process and Luke Richardson gives some injury updates.
It took a grimy performance on defense, highlighted by a Derrick Jones Jr. nasty block on James Harden to seal the victory, but the Bulls pulled out the improbable win in double overtime.
Deon Howard is charged with unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle, abuse of a corpse in the theft of a funeral home van containing a body that was found in Chicago.