He wasn’t jumping around, instead keeping his behind glued to his seat for most of the game, all while Fred Hoiberg gave firm direction in the Bulls’ Summer League opener.
The comparisons to Tom Thibodeau’s hoarse-voiced barking from start to finish, be it Summer League or the playoffs, will always come to mind. It’s easy and convenient.
But he seemed pretty comfortable in his own skin in coaching for the first time in the NBA, albeit an exhibition setting without the traditional NBA rules. Heck, he knew he wasn’t at Iowa State anymore before tip off.
“What are you trying to get at? It was fun,” said Hoiberg playfully while being asked about the differences in coaching pros from college kids. “In college you have a pregame meal with your team. Here you’re on your own.”
[MORE SUMMER LEAGUE: Portis impresses in Summer League opener]
So he went with a couple of the Bulls assistants and went over some things, a subtle alteration but one he’ll get used to before long, as he was more delegator than dictator in his first experience.
“A lot. I’ve got a guy in Jim Boylan who’s got so much experience,” Hoiberg said. “He’s great. Mike Wilhelm, Randy Brown, Pete Myers, they’ve been phenomenal.”
Once the game started, things like defensive three seconds, the handchecking rules and how teams can advance the ball after timeouts are a few of the things he’s had to re-familiarize himself with, having spent the last five years in the college ranks.
Players have spent plenty of time in the Advocate Center since Hoiberg’s hiring, as Jimmy Butler said he anticipates getting some film from Hoiberg on how he’ll be maximized early next month.
[SHOP: Buy a Bobby Portis jersey]
And for the players who are on the Summer League roster, he’s run them through a quick camp in preparation. Tony Snell and E’Twaun Moore aren’t on the roster, but went through the 3-day camp to establish some continuity and get familiar with the man who’ll be coaching them this season and beyond.
“It’s a great opportunity to get them familiar with what we’re trying to do and hopefully we can get better,” Hoiberg said.
Hoiberg got the early start on re-establishing Doug McDermott’s confidence in Year 2, and putting rookie Bobby Portis in positions where Portis wouldn’t take his foot off the gas by placing him on No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns in the opener.
Portis scored 23 while McDermott scored 20 with five rebounds in 31 minutes, moving without the ball and having his share of offense run through him.
“I think it’s huge,” Hoiberg said. “He was great in our minicamp, I think he hit 10 of 15 threes. When he’s open out there, you’re surprised it doesn’t go in. I think that’s who the kid’s always been and coming out here and re-establishing that is huge.”
As for his team’s performance, Hoiberg was pleased with the defense and overall concentration.
“I thought we came out with great effort,” Hoiberg said. “I thought in the second half we came out with great ball pressure. I liked our pace.”
But like just about every coach at every level, he’ll find something to harp on before Sunday’s game.
“There’s a lot of improvements to be made,” Hoiberg said. “We’re gonna watch the film with these guys tomorrow and hopefully play better.”