Hoiberg gives his Bulls scouting report
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By Sam Smith | 9.29.2015 | 9:55 a.m.
The Bulls certainly hope it becomes an era, and presumably Fred Hoiberg does as well. It basically began Monday with the opening of Hoiberg’s first training camp as Bulls coach, media day interviews and team meetings.
After a summer of visiting with all the players at their homes or training facilities, like with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in California, Hoiberg said Monday, “You don’t walk into many of these situations to have a team that can compete at the highest level. This team has the ability to do that with the different personalities and the different skillsets we have with this roster, I’m so excited to get started. These last few weeks couldn’t have gone any slower to get to this opening day of camp. And I know our guys are ready as well to get underway and they’ll play a preseason game in a week at the United Center. Just to get rolling, I know everybody in this organization’s excited about that.”
Hoiberg commended the strong foundation built by former coach Tom Thibodeau and gave this scouting report on players:
Derrick Rose: “Derrick has had a great summer. I went out and spent a couple of days with him. Jim Boylen went out there and spent some time with him. Pete Myers has a great relationship with him, Randy Brown has been around him a bunch these last several years. I think he’s comfortable with what we are going to be doing. He looked explosive to me. He won’t have any limitations and didn’t have any limitations in rehab this summer. I think that helped him. That will help him this year where I think he’s in tremendous shape. He may have been limited a little bit these past few years because he was coming off an injury or rehab where he wasn’t in top physical condition going into the season. But I think this year is different. The thing the talks I had with Derrick, he said, ‘Coach, I don’t care about the numbers, I don’t care about any of that. All I care about now is winning.’ That’s a great thing to have, especially with the ball in his hands as much as it is, a guy who is about the team and about winning. That’s all he said to me this summer. It wasn’t about, ‘I need to be this guy or that guy or get back to putting up X amount of points, X amount of assists. All I care about is winning.’ Those are the conversations we had this summer.”
Jimmy Butler: “Jimmy, I think no doubt, can handle the ball; if he rebounds and Derrick fills the lane and runs the floor they can facilitate some offense that way. The big thing for me is it doesn’t matter who brings it down. It’s making plays, spacing the floor properly, making simple plays. If we do that we have enough weapons on the floor to keep that ball moving and make teams pay.”
Pau Gasol: “I think Pau fits in great, especially the way he’d been playing (in winning the Eurobasket tournament on Spain averaging 26 per game). I loved the game where he had six of seven threes. He’s a guy who can pick and pop, roll to the basket, obviously has a very good post game, back to the basket. If he’s open, yeah, shoot them (threes), especially the corner three. In our offense he’ll have some time there; I love his stroke. What I saw Pau do in the European championship, especially in those last three games, was unbelievable. So we’ll play through Pau a lot, whether it’s on the block, getting him the ball in pick and roll type actions. I thought he and Niko had a lot of great moments together in those championships.”
Joakim Noah: “He’s another guy, I think, had a really good offseason. He spent a lot of time in Santa Barbara rehabbing with people who specialized in that. He seems to have his explosiveness back; that’s a big thing with these players to play with confidence. I think he did lose a little bit of confidence last year. I think he’d probably be the first one to admit that. Now going out there and playing with that swagger. That’s the thing that made Joakim Noah who he is, the passion, swagger and fire he plays with. That’s what we’ve got to get. He is a playmaker; the draft that Jo was in, those teams that won championships at Florida he was the guy who was making plays. He should be able to flatten the floor by running to the rim in transition. I think you can use him in a playmaking role. I’ve always used my bigger players like that, especially when you have guards who can post; Jimmy and Derrick can take advantage of things in the post if you have the right bigs to make plays. As far as the rotations and how we’re going to play and who’s going to play together, we’ve got 28 days to figure that out. I haven’t made any decisions as far as who’s going to be our starters. I don’t care who starts. It’s who finishes that’s the most important thing. We’ll be able to experiment a lot this preseason, even in games. We’ll probably start different lineups. I don’t know if we’ll start different in all eight preseason games but we’ll mix and match and see who fits the best: Who’s your best driving team with your playmakers and floor spacers? What are some lineups where you can get the ball inside and try to punish teams? And that’s the great thing about this roster; there’s a lot of flexibility with it. You can put guys in a lot of positions with a lot of versatility.”
Mike Dunleavy: “Obviously, Mike (out for at least two months after back surgery) was a huge part of the success of this team. He’s been a tremendous pro, dating all the way back to when he came into this league; we’re going to take a cautious approach. We need Mike Dunleavy healthy at the end of the season. When you look, especially from an analytics standpoint, when Mike Dunleavy was on the floor good things happened. You look at the offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency. Mike was as good as anybody on our roster. So those are big shoes to fill. Watching film from last year he obviously can make shots, but also rebound, doesn’t make mistakes, always in the right spot offensively, defensively; he’s just one of those guys you know is going to be in the right spot, has a lot of good years left I feel. I think you’re going to have to do it by committee.”
Doug McDermott: “Doug has had a terrific summer. Starting with that summer league, even in those practices he was awesome. And then going out in Vegas, he didn’t shoot great, but he did a lot of other things very well. Especially with Mike out early, he’ll get an opportunity to play with that first and second group a lot. And then it’s figuring out where to best utilize Doug. He has a tremendous future in this league. I thought he did everything well in the summer league except shoot the three, which doesn’t worry me because I know he can shoot his whole life. I thought he was great going to the basket, I thought he defended, really competed on that side of the ball. The biggest thing is getting confidence in the league. You learn so much that first year whether you play or not. The most growth you make is from that first to second year. What to expect, but also the changes you make in your body and that’s what I’ve seen from last year and seeing him is the change in his body which will make him more athletic. I think he’ll be able to compete on the defensive end better. Doug can score all over the floor, which is a unique thing in the league where a guy can post, drive and take mid range shots and shoot the three and Doug can do all that.”
Nikola Mirotic: “Niko is going to have a big role. There’s no doubt about that. What that role is, I don’t know yet. Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, it really doesn’t matter to me. Niko’s skill set fits in very well with how we like to play. I think you can play him some at the three. And especially with the way the league is going, you can play him at power forward a lot as well. Niko’s one of the more versatile players in this league because he’s very good on the block and also shoots the heck out of the ball.”
Tony Snell: “Tony, his body looks great. From a kid at the draft a couple of years ago at 190 pounds, he’s about 225 now. He’s put on a lot of muscle mass. The thing I love about him is I think he can be an elite defender in this league, a guy who can knock down shots.”
Bobby Portis: “First of all, going back to draft night and how surprised everyone was that he was still on the board when we were picking at 22. He didn’t disappoint at all. He came into training camp with the mentality he was going to be the best player there. Even looking at our first (summer league) game, he gets an opportunity to play against the No. 1 pick, Karl Anthony Towns, and didn’t back down at all and had a phenomenal opening game, was out hitting threes, running the floor and getting dunks in transition. The kid just flat out gives it to you every time he steps on the floor; so much energy and passion. People kind of saw him as a back to the basket, energy type player. But he really has a nice shooting touch. Showed flashes in summer league; the kid lives in the gym. He’s going to give it all every time he is on the floor. He’s going to rebound it. He’s not going to back down. He’s got all the tools, 6-10 and 20 years old, a tremendous motor. That’s a pretty good place to start. I know this: He’ll come to training camp and push everybody he plays against. Anybody who gets the opportunity to play against Bobby Portis is going to have to go 100 percent because that kid is going hard each and every time he takes the court.”
Taj Gibson: Had some really good workouts (though Hoiberg said he probably won’t do two-a-days after offseason ankle surgery). He’s still in that rehab role, so we will take it slowly, cautiously. But he’s looked really good in workouts. I think the big thing for us will be about rotations, have guys accept roles. One night you might play and have 30 points and next night someone else will have 30 points. It’s got to be something that we will evolve into. We have a lot of guys who can spend quality time on the floor. Now it’s about one night accept that and support your team; that’s going to be the biggest thing for this team is building that rotation.”
Kirk Hinrich: “He’s in great shape. Watching film from last year, Kirk did a lot of really good things. Defensively, he is always in the right spot and is a settling influence for the team. He’s a guy who has a lot of good years left in him.”
Aaron Brooks: “He was great as another guy who can flat out make tough baskets, a guy who hit a lot of clutch shots a year ago. I’m excited about the things we can do with him on the basketball floor.”