The Chicago Bulls fired coach Fred Hoiberg on Monday after a dreadful 5-19 start this season, ending his four-year tenure with the team.
While Hoiberg’s issues controlling the locker room in Chicago have been well documented — most notably with Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah — it appears the problem was not limited to veteran players.
Hoiberg, according to The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry, had plenty of issues handling the Bulls’ younger players, too.
Chicago Bulls guard Antonio Blakeney is nowhere near the level of a NBA All-Star — and not even close to the best player on the Bulls roster. The reigning G-League Rookie of the Year is averaging 9.7 points and two rebounds in just 17 minutes per game so far this season. Blakeney has averaged just 3.3 minutes per contest in the Bulls’ last five games, too — all of which they lost.
The 22-year-old, though, apparently had no problem calling out his former coach when he was unhappy.
During the Bulls’ 123-104 loss to the Bucks in Milwaukee in November, Hoiberg subbed Blakeney out of the game.
His actions, though, didn’t vary far from the norm in Chicago’s locker room.
If that isn’t enough, just listen to how Lauri Markkanen — who clearly is too nice to say anything negative on the record — responded when asked on Tuesday whether Hoiberg had control of the team or not.
While his coaching style could work with another organization — as there is no single way to succeed as a head coach in the NBA — Hoiberg simply wasn’t winning in Chicago. He complied a 115-155 overall record, made one playoff appearance and lost 15 of his last 18 games at the helm of the team.
Had the former Iowa State coach been able to lead the Bulls through their rebuild and turn them into a winning franchise again, his inability to garner respect within the locker room could have been overlooked.
That, though, didn’t come close to happening.
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