After dropping three lethargic game at the United Center, generic it’s looking like it could be a blue Christmas for our Bulls. Even before last night’s loss at home, discount Jimmy Butler spoke out about new head coach Fred Hoiberg and definitely may have ruffled some feathers. It’s been an inconsistent transition from over-bearing defensive guru Tom Thibodeau to laid back fast-paced focused Fred Hoiberg this season, but it was the Bulls loss to the New York Knicks on Saturday that pushed Butler to the edge of frustration.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 20, 2015
Butler and Hoiberg apparently met for an hour on Sunday before facing the Nets on Monday night and hashed out frustrations and are “on the same page.” Hoiberg opted for the high road and said he instills open communication with his players and that talking things through is the best policy. He also mentioned that being the team leader is a new role for Butler who had been the scrappy underdog player fighting for respect. He also believe in Butler’s talent, his passion, his work ethic and thinks he can be great at it, but there are still some growing pains (like opening your big mouth in front of 10 TV cameras…did I say that out loud?)
Brought up in the league under Thibodeau, who for a better lack of words was rather harsh, I’m sure it’s most frustrating for Jimmy-B to see his teammates playing with a lack of passion. Thibs was tough, but he often brought out the best in his players. He just played them for far too many minutes and burnt them out. So far, Hoiberg seems more like the guy who’s super chill, great to grab a beer with, but probably not your number one choice to back you up in a fight. He’s too easy going.
Jimmy later admitted that publicly criticizing coach Hoiberg probably wasn’t the best route. He also added that the media blew the statement out of proportion, I mean it was fresh bait just dangling in front of journalists faces. You can’t trash talk and not expect it to catch fire Mr. Butler. However, it was more like a light trash talk. Hoiberg is easy going, he didn’t say anything untrue. Things used to get far more heated in the lockroom back in the Jordan, Pippen, Rodman days. Come on you drama queens.
“I know what we have here (knows) what it takes to win. People are going to think what they want to think. Yeah, I said coach, but then again when we all talked about it, talked about it with my teammates, it’s on us. We’re the ones that have to go out there and play,’’ Butler said.
A few things are clear after Butler’s comments. He is the leader of this Bulls team. Money aside (he’s got that big fat 5-year deal), Butler’s on-court production and off-court persona allows him to claim the franchise player role. He’s doing it all and on his way to his second-straight All-Star game. The fact that he felt confident enough to make Saturday’s comments and know people would listen is a step in the right direction. He’s only going to get better as the Bulls leader.
I’m not worried about Jimmy and his PC criticism. I’m far more concerned about the overall identity of this Bulls team.