Coach Fred Hoiberg is winning. Even when his team doesn’t — the Bulls lost to the Trail Blazers 124-120 in overtime Monday, dropping them to 13-24 — he still can get the most satisfaction out of this season. Since a Dec. 4 blowout loss to the Cavaliers, there hasn’t been a more difficult team in the Eastern Conference for opposing teams to deal with than his Bulls. Even in their losses during that span, only one — last week’s 117-92 setback in Boston — falls in the stinker category. At some point, Hoiberg has to start receiving some credit from outside the building. Inside the building? Not a problem. “He just stuck with us through all the ups and downs,’’ guard Denzel Valentine said. “Even when we were 3-17, he was still believing in us, still putting us in positions to be successful. He’s stuck with us, been patient and kept us motivated.’’ It’s that “kept us motivated’’ part that might be the most telling. This was a roster built by the front office to fail this season. That’s what a tanking franchise is supposed to do. Pick up losses, collect more lottery balls, draft high. All vice president of basketball operations John Paxson required was a team that played with high effort and the development of young players such as rookie forward Lauri Markkanen and second-year point guard Kris Dunn.
Fred Hoiberg continues getting it done even when his Bulls players fall short
Chicago Sun-Times | Jan 2