Left standing in the rubble of another unexpected disaster, Fred Hoiberg believes he finally saw some signs of life with his team, that they just weren’t satisfied with being on cruise control early in the season.
The overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves prompted strong questions and reactions about an offense that amazingly missed 19 of its last 20 shots in regulation and overtime, but Sunday’s film session showed plenty of miscommunication on the defensive end.
Their pick and roll defense wasn’t just a step slow but completely out of position, as players could be seen having mini-discussions when the Timberwolves were at the foul line.
“Last night, the communication wasn’t there,” Hoiberg said. “We just came out the locker room with low energy. They got their confidence going when that happened they got their rhythm going. They made the plays, we were a step slow.”
[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]
In some ways, you wonder if this team isn’t used to communicating for itself, considering the Bulls had five years of Tom Thibodeau bellowing out “Ice!” on every pick-and-roll, and that was a huge point of contention afterwards, the aforementioned lack of communication.
With that said, this team has been so defined by Thibodeau being the voice of it for so many years, the players could just now be developing their own voices as far as holding each other accountable.
“I thought today was a good step in the right direction toward that, for the guys talking to each other,” Hoiberg said. “In the film room I think guys talked some things out and on the practice floor guys competed against each other.
“It was a vocal practice. We didn’t have that last night. We screwed up a couple coverages last night because we didn’t communicate quick enough.”
And with Philadelphia looming, a team that doesn’t quite fit the exact build of a Timberwolves squad considering the Timberwolves are functioning like an actual NBA franchise, but they certainly aren’t in the mold of a title contender like the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Meaning, if Hoiberg sees early slippage, he won’t hesitate to make quick changes in the first quarter.
“Our defense in the first quarter has been very poor, especially to open up games,” Hoiberg said. “Gotta improve on that.”
Derrick Rose said no matter if it’s seven games in, the time to be alarmed isn’t a few games from now.
“Right now, right now,” he said. “It’s something we can stop, something everyone is aware of. We gotta put a stop to it. We play in a couple days and we get to make up for it.”