Fred Hoiberg Rumors
Hoiberg didn’t sound overly concerned that Carter-Williams would have to miss more time because of the latest setback. “I don’t know if it was one thing that caused the progress to stall,” Hoiberg said. “He’s been doing great, his knee feels really good right now. He’s back doing full activity on the floor as far as running in a straight line and his activity level we’ll continue to ramp up as far as working on his legs. That’s the good thing about being that it’s not his dominant hand. So he’ll still be able to get out and shoot with his right hand, get out and shoot, and continue to increase his workload with his legs. He’ll be able to stay in pretty good shape, so when that thing is completely healed, he’ll be able to get back on the floor for us.”
So Jimmy Butler straightened his shoulders and fixed his eyes on Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg. “Coach,” Butler said, “I’m going for 40 points tonight.” Once that might have been out of hubris or perhaps ego or insecurity. It’s now clearly out of responsibility. “Jimmy came to me before the game and said; ‘C’mon, let’s get it done,’” said Taj Gibson. “I saw it in his eyes, the desperation, the understanding we have to win this game, a big game for us on a back to back after losing a tough one, which we thought we should have won. I saw it in his eyes; he was intense. He’s showing more leadership day by day.”
“No, I love it,’’ Hoiberg said sarcastically, when asked if he has been bothered by the critical assessments of him as a coach. “I love it.’’ What Hoiberg will admit to concerning the 8-4 start to the season is this is a group of players that has made it easier for him to coach. “Well, sure,’’ Hoiberg said. “There’s great accountability in the locker room with these guys. It starts with our veterans. So again, I’ve been so impressed with the way our veterans have handled things, and hopefully we can keep moving in the right direction.’’
“I think with this team it’s different,’’ Wade said, when asked his assessment of Hoiberg as an NBA coach. “We’re all continuing to learn each other. Fred is two years in to his [NBA] basketball coaching career. What he’s going to be in 10, 12 years is not what he is today. Obviously, no one is. So right now I think he’s doing a good job.’’
“Yes, he’s coach, yes, he’s been in the NBA, but my experience is something that he hasn’t had, with the Finals, etc. … so that’s the one good thing about certain players in this league, when coaches allow them to use their knowledge of the game,’’ Wade said. “In certain moments it’s great to go to Fred in the last couple minutes and say, ‘Hey, let’s run this or do this or get to this package.’ And he’s open to it. It doesn’t have to be ‘My way or the highway,’ and we’re growing together.’’
Hoiberg saw clearly, and before Thursday’s Wide World of Wade Welcome in Miami, the coach was consumed with his three-Kola that was draining away. “I had a really good talk with Niko in Miami,” Hoiberg disclosed after Saturday’s victory against Washington. “I said, ‘If anybody can relate to having struggles in the league, it’s me.’ I had him in my office before that game in Miami and just told him, ‘You feel like you’re just this big, you feel like you’re on island, you feel like the world is against you. But it’s never as bad as you think it is.’ I just told him to go out and try to have fun; the big thing for Niko you could see in his face the stress.