Hoiberg says Bulls' effort 'unexplainable,' won't make changes


Hoiberg says Bulls' effort 'unexplainable,' won't make changes

There was a tone of acceptance mixed with optimism about the state of affairs for the Bulls after their embarrassing loss to the Hornets in Charlotte, spurred by a performance on the defensive end that could best be described as “non-existent.”

“Usually, you look at a film and it’s never as good or as bad as you think it is,” Hoiberg said. “Yesterday was as bad as I thought it was. It was ugly from start to finish. We weren’t helping each other. We weren’t trusting each other at both ends.”

In other words, it was just as bad as Jimmy Butler surmised after the game when he pointedly said the Bulls didn’t compete, particularly defensively.

“Some things are unexplainable in life and yesterday I guess was one of them,” said Hoiberg, who also said no changes will be in the starting lineup.

Butler was asked if there would be a better effort against the formidable, title-ready Oklahoma City Thunder and he replied, “I promise you that.”

“High-spirited guys competing and playing the game that we love,” Butler added. “I think that’s the perks of this. We competed extremely hard against each other, but when we go up against an opposing team we don’t compete nearly as hard. That can’t happen, so we got back to work today.

“You can’t really coach effort. You go out there, you guard, you rebound, you do all the little things. That’s what effort is all about. You either want to do it or you don’t."

[MORE: Jimmy Butler goes 1-on-1 with Insider Vincent Goodwill]

It sparked widespread panic because it’s the fifth game into the season and there seemed to be a difference in the way Hoiberg wanted the pace to be run compared to the way Derrick Rose perceived it.

After the game, Rose said he felt the pace was fine but before he spoke, Hoiberg bemoaned the lack of it and repeatedly bringing the ball upcourt slowly, an old habit that seems hard to break.

“We sat in the film room today and watched a lot of clips. He’s in there and understands and takes full accountability for his issues,” Hoiberg said. “That’s where it starts. You have to see it and get better. He had a very good practice today. He’s still getting himself in the type of shape he needs to be in.”

Hoiberg added Rose isn’t wholly at fault, that pace is a five-man thing as opposed to the point guard running it up. Nevertheless, the slow starts could be derived from Rose’s lack of aggressiveness offensively combined with Tony Snell not being a primary scorer and mostly being in the first five because he’s capable defensively.

Three straight games of scoring 10 points or fewer, the first time in Rose’s career such a dubious feat has been attained, leaves Hoiberg in a spot where three of the five starters aren’t offensive threats.

“I don’t know if I’d call Derrick a non-scorer. He’s a threat,” Hoiberg said. “We've got to get out and run with him. That’s where it starts with Derrick. We have to put more initial pressure on the defense. We’re not doing that.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Which goes back to movement, an attribute that was in short order Tuesday and has been sparingly displayed with any consistency this season. They fell behind 19-10 in Detroit in their overtime loss, and the loss to the Hornets speaks for itself, but if one needs a refresher, the Bulls fell behind 17-9 before the deficit reached 18 in the first quarter.

“It has to be a commitment by all five guys to get out and run,” Hoiberg said. “When we do it, we’re pretty effective. But there’s too much inconsistency in that area right now. You look at the game against Orlando and we had great pace early in that game and then it fell apart in the fourth quarter.”

Zion Williamson's injury is devastating news for NBA fans of every allegiance, but there is a silver lining for Bulls fans

Zion Williamson's injury is devastating news for NBA fans of every allegiance, but there is a silver lining for Bulls fans

Monday afternoon, news broke that Pelicans rookie, awe-inspiring phenom and the subject of numerous long-forgotten basketball prophecies, Zion Williamson, will miss the first 6-8 weeks of the NBA season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn right meniscus. No reaction to this news is complete or legitimate without first acknowledging that this is a devastating development for anyone who loves this league and, of course, for Zion himself (human to human, injuries are brutal and we wish him the best). On a basketball note, Williamson looked every bit as exceptional as advertised this preseason, and the Pelicans are primed to be one of the most fun young teams the NBA has seen in a long while — a League Pass must-watch of the highest caliber.

But, unfortunately, the show will have to go on in New Orleans without their No. 1 overall pick, at least for the time being. In the wake of the initial report, NBA Twitter was ablaze with reactions, as one might expect. Among the highlights…

Historical comparisons were pondered:




Meniscuses (menisci?) were offered up:


Odds swung:


(Hi, Coby) 

Bandwagons tipped:


There is a silver lining for Bulls fans in all of this, though. Right now, barring a highly improbable (to put it lightly) NBA Finals matchup, the Bulls and Pelicans are slated to face off twice in the regular season, the first meeting of which will be on January 8 in New Orleans. According to the reported 6-8 week recovery timetable for Williamson, he should be set to return some time in between late November and mid-December. That means there’s a good chance Williamson will suit up for both games against the Bulls this season — unless, of course, nagging injuries plague his rookie campaign (please no). 

The city of Chicago got a taste of the legend of Zion this preseason, when the Pelicans visited the United Center on October 9. Williamson was exquisite in that contest, tallying 29 points on 12-of-13 shooting in 27 minutes of game action, accumulating a number of highlight-reel plays along the way:

Now, let us all come together and pray to the basketball gods for a speedy recovery and a long and healthy career for the Duke product. No matter your allegiances, there’s no doubt the NBA is better and more exciting league with him in it.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device. 

Bulls exercise options on Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison

Bulls exercise options on Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison

On a day that saw a number of young stars across the league secure bags large and larger, the Bulls made some ripples of their own, exercising the fourth-year option on Lauri Markkanen, and third-year options on Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison. 

These moves are a formality. Markkanen and Carter are each poised for statistical jumps this season and are already unquestioned centerpieces of an exciting young core in Chicago. Hutchison, when healthy, has also showed flashes of being an intriguing piece on a team strapped for defense-minded wings.

Still, it’s a nice bit of reassurance that these guys are around for the long haul (Markkanen and Carter, at least). Even when/if Markkanen hits restricted free agency two offseasons from now, the Bulls will be able to match any offer sheet he might sign with another team. The same is true for Carter in three years, provided they extend qualifying offers to each of them (at this point, it’s hard to see how they wouldn’t).

For now, having already productive NBA players with enormous potential on team-friendly deals is a big reason to get excited about the direction the Bulls are heading in. Now, buckle up for the season-opener this Wednesday in Charlotte.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.