Jimmy Butler’s Critical Comments of Fred Hoiberg, Bulls


The only thing that came as a surprise from the Chicago Bulls’ loss on Saturday night to the New York Knicks was Jimmy Butler’s thoughts on Fred Hoiberg’s coaching style.

There’s seriously no doubt that the Chicago Bulls are Jimmy Butler‘s team, right?

Good, glad we got that out of the way.

Butler has evolved into one of the NBA’s brightest young talents since the start of last season and has become the centerpiece and vocal leader of the Bulls franchise.

Like Uncle Ben said in Spider-Man, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

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Since signing a new five-year, $95 million deal to stay in Chicago, Jimmy Butler has become a leader on and off the court for the Bulls.

Butler understands that his voice is louder. When he speaks, people are going to listen.

That last point was quite clear on Saturday night after the Bulls sluggishly lost their second straight game. Butler wasn’t shy after the loss (that came 24 hours after the Bulls lost in four overtimes to the Detroit Pistons).

"“I believe in the guys in this locker room, yeah,” Butler said when asked whether a shakeup was needed for players to get a message. “But I also believe that we probably have to be coached a lot harder at times. I’m sorry. I know Fred’s a laid-back guy and I really respect him for that, but when guys aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do, you got to get on guys. Myself included. You got to do what you’re supposed to do when you’re out there playing basketball.”(Nick Friedell, ESPN.com)"

If the Tom Thibodeau apologists didn’t have fuel before, they sure do now.

Now, before this turns into another season of “Real Housewives of Chicago”, let’s look at this situation reasonably.

Butler’s bullet points from this were simply:

  • I love my teammates.
  • We’re not a good team right now.
  • Our coach needs an edge to him to survive at this level.
  • Scream! Motivate! Do something! Hell, yell at me!

Is it shocking that Butler basically called out his coach? You could say that.

But, is Butler wrong?

Here’s the thing with Butler: He’s a fresh face. This spotlight is practically new to him.

With great power (five-year, $95 million deal), comes great responsibility (being a vocal leader and having headlines revolving around what you say and do).

Butler’s going to keep it 100 with you. He’s not going to sugarcoat situations.

Could he be speaking for more than just himself? Maybe.

However, this could be the newest Pandora’s box for the Bulls on a long and strenuous path to becoming one of the NBA’s elite-tier teams again.

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Tom Thibodeau may have been looked at as a dictator during his time with the Bulls, but no player ever called their coach out over his coaching style. Thibodeau was a mad man at times, but his players worked harder than any team in the league.

Here’s the thing with Hoiberg: He’s a fresh face, too. This atmosphere is much different than Ames, Iowa.

Hoiberg’s never been an in your face-type of player or coach.

But, this is the NBA.

The whole “let your players play” thing may have worked at Iowa State, but you’re dealing with grown men now. This is a business, and if your players aren’t doing their job (non-purposeful shout out to Thibodeau), then you need to let them know.

How many times have we seen Gregg Popovich on Tony Parker‘s back during the San Antonio Spurs’ run of dominance?

(Note: Tony Parker has four NBA championship rings.)

A Spurs philosophy can be emphasized here, though.

“No one player is bigger than the team.”

Call it what you want — Butler was in the right or Butler was completely wrong — but at least Butler realizes that this isn’t working for the Bulls right now.

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Butler’s comments may have left many flabbergasted that he would say those types of things publicly, but as crazy as it sounds, it might have been what the Bulls needed.

There’s been plenty of instances where the Bulls (Hoiberg included) needed a swift kick in the behind this season for their performance in the first 25 games.

The only constant in the first quarter of the season? Jimmy Butler.

Butler hasn’t been perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but think long and hard about something.

Where would the Chicago Bulls be without Jimmy Butler?