Hoiberg hopes Chicago Bulls respond to tougher camp
A 90-minute session on Wednesday may have been the Bulls' shortest practice of training camp.
"It was a shorter, intense type of practice," coach Fred Hoiberg said. "But I was really happy with the way it went."
Many practices have lasted 2 ½ hours and there has been just one day off since camp began on Sept. 27.
Older players such as Dwyane Wade have taken a break when needed, but Hoiberg clearly made a decision to make things tougher on the Bulls this year. As far as time spent on the practice court, this feels like the most strenuous Bulls training camp in many years.
The Bulls missed the playoffs in Hoiberg's first year on the job. And while it's debatable how much of that was his fault, one of his bosses, vice president of basketball operations John Paxson, ended the season by saying Hoiberg had work to do to become a more effective coach.
Hoiberg and the coaching staff made some decisions over the summer and one of them was to work the players harder in preseason. Wade said recently the Bulls have done more scrimmaging in camp than he has experienced in the NBA.
"I wanted to create a really competitive environment," Hoiberg said Wednesday. "The guys have bought into that. We talked in that (film) room before we came out for that first practice about how demanding it was going to be and how we needed to respond and fight through adversity. Put them in adverse situations and see how they handle it."
Another theme of Paxson's postseason speech was lamenting the lack of fight the team displayed last season. The Bulls went 7-1 against Eastern Conference finalists, Cleveland and Toronto, for example, but they couldn't beat bad teams late in the season when a playoff spot was on the line.
"Every night we're going to hit that adversity," Hoiberg said. "What will define us is how we handle it.
"We have to continue to fight and make it as competitive as possible. Our guys have done a good job with it."
It's too soon to tell if the heavier workload will be better for the Bulls. With so many young players on the roster, Hoiberg figured they could also benefit from the extra work.
"It helps guys get in shape," Hoiberg said. "The way we want to play, we want our guys in great physical condition. I think it's helped."
The Bulls' work schedule isn't necessarily out of the ordinary in the NBA. Guard Spencer Dinwiddie spent the past two seasons in Detroit playing for coach Stan Van Gundy, who also Wade's first coach in Miami.
"The Pat Riley coaching tree, or so I've heard, has a little different style of doing things," Dinwiddie said. "So the Detroit camp was a little more strenuous, but we're definitely putting in work here too."
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