“I believe in the guys in this locker room, yeah. 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.”
“We weren’t doing what we were supposed to be doing, what we wrote up on that board before the game, and nobody spoke up about it. I did probably not enough times, but I think that he has to hold everybody accountable. From the No. 1 player all the way down to however many guys we got. You got to hold everybody accountable; everybody has to do their job. You win your matchup, you do your job, we win the game.”
These statements came after the Bulls lost a game to the Knicks and fell to 15-10 on the season. That wasn’t a horrible record at all – over an 82-game season, a team that wins 60 percent of its games will win 48 or 49 times – but there were some obvious locker room issues that were going down while the team transitioned from Tom Thibodeau’s era to Hoiberg’s.
Fast forward to today, and the Bulls need a lot of help if they want to sneak into the postseason as an eight seed. Chicago needs to win out and hope that Indiana loses its final three games of the year. Considering how the Pacers’ least three games are against three of the four worst teams in the conference, well, Chicago’s probably not making the playoffs.
It’s a lost season for the Bulls, and according to Hoiberg, things started to spiral downward once Butler made those comments in December.
Either this is a universal sentiment in the Bulls’ locker room and everyone agrees that this was the thing that torpedoed the team’s season, or there’s something going on between Hoiberg and Butler. Oddly enough, the two seemed like they were on the same page after Butler called Hoiberg out, but this is not an ideal situation for the Bulls regardless.
Chicago is in for a really big offseason. The team looks like it could be on the verge of blowing everything up and trying to build a roster that is more friendly to the style of basketball Hoiberg wants to play. Could that involve shipping its best player out of town? We’ll have to see, but comments like this from Hoiberg definitely inspire confidence in Butler’s future in Chicago.