Fred Hoiberg takes over the Chicago Bulls head coaching position from the departed Tom Thibodeau for NBA 2015-16. Hoiberg comes from Iowa State, where he was a star player and as coach became known as an offensive mastermind. Hoiberg is also a fearless risk taker: coaching the Chicago Bulls (ask Thibodeau) is one of the most high-pressure jobs in the NBA and Hoiberg courageously enters the hot seat after two heart surgeries, including aortic valve replacement last spring at just 43 years old.
Hoiberg inherits the windy city’s most successful franchise, a former NBA MVP in Derrick Rose and a mulititude of talent including Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah, Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol. The Bulls biggest problem in recent years — for those who don’t think it was Thibodeau’s anemic offensive sets — has been putting a healthy team on the floor. Hoiberg, though on intimate terms with doctors, isn’t one. Given the roster talent, a streak of good player health will do more for Hoiberg’s debut season than all the x’s and o’s he draws up. Hoiberg sensibly brings along assistant Jim Boylen to marshal the defense, so it doesn’t go straight from Thibodeau-style to matador-style. Hoiberg will need to win 51 regular season games and two playoff series to top last year’s Chicago effort. Here’s hoping the wind is at his back. He’s felt it before — Hoiberg played 10 seasons in the NBA, including averaging 30 minutes in 74 games for the Bulls in 2000-01. If Derrick Rose plays that much, Hoiberg will be looking good.