McDermott thrives in first glimpse of Bulls’ ‘Hoiball’ offense


VIDEO: Butler, McDermott lead Bulls past Bucks

CHICAGO – Already, they call it Hoiball.

OK, maybe that’s not the most descriptive or exciting appellation for the Chicago Bulls’ revamped offense under new head coach Fred Hoiberg. But it’s pretty decent shorthand for an attack with more pace, more reads, less emphasis on halfcourt sets and, from the glimpse offered in their first preseason game Tuesday night at United Center, a whole bunch of 3-point shots.

The Bulls hoisted – Hoistball? – 39 of them in beating Milwaukee, becoming more accurate as the game went on and not at all more shy; Chicago was 3-of-20 from long range in the first half, then 10-of-19. That fueled a second half in which the Bulls scored 68 points. And while they did it with four of the Bucks’ starters idle after halftime, they also did it with five rotation guys of their own not participating.

The big beneficiary was Doug McDermott, the second-year forward from Creighton whose forgettable rookie season was waylaid by knee surgery, blown assignments and a gruff Tom Thibodeau not inclined to force-feed him. McDermott was 0-for-5 at halftime, then went 8-of-14 the rest of the night, hitting five of his last eight 3-pointers.

“It’s a blast,” McDermott said of Hoiball. “Coach Hoiberg makes it a lot of fun for us. It’s just ‘Move the ball real well and be unselfish.’ Coach won’t pull you out of you have a bad shot. He just lets you play your game.”

McDermott had searched for his long ball at the Summer League in Las Vegas, missing 14 of his 16 attempts there in July. His start Tuesday continued that bad trend until he and his teammates snapped him out of it.

“Even though he started off 0-for-whatever,” Jimmy Butler said, “we all told Doug at the half, `Hey Doug, that’s what you do. You put the ball in the basket. Don’t be scared to keep shooting the ball.’ He did just that. You saw the outcome of it.”

Said Hoiberg: “He’s one of those guys, every time he shoots, you think he’s going in. But when he stands right on the line, he’s not as effective as when he’s getting a little momentum going into it. … When he gets that 1-2 rhythm step into his shot, he generally shoots it better.”

For Hoiberg, this debut as the Bulls head coach came 16 years after he made his first appearance as a Chicago player, joining the team in 1999-2000 for what would be four seasons. His most vivid memory back then was being pranked by Bulls veterans, who let the new guys run onto the floor without following. This time, Hoiberg was most noticeable for the amount of time he spent sitting, turning the VIP seats adjacent to the Bulls bench into unobstructed views compared to his predecessor.

He felt the players loosened up and got better giddy-up into their git-along in the second half. The abundance of 3-pointers – more than Chicago shot in all but two of its 82 games last season – might wane once Pau Gasol is back in the post and Derrick Rose is attacking the basket. But there were some elements that the Bulls hope will be constants in Hoiball.

“The spacing that we have, you’ve got shooters everywhere on the floor,” Butler said. “So a lot of driving gaps. A lot of chance for isolation. And then of course, getting up and down in transition. I think it fits everybody’s game, not just mine.”

7 Comments

  1. al3abmix says:

    “Hoiball” sounds like “hoeball”. Or at least I can see it being swung that way if Bulls go through a stretch that’s not fan pleasing. In other words, implying a very connotation of playing like girls. Hoiberg will get killed with that. I wouldn’t go with it, Acsh. However, Bulls moved with nice fluidity and got good spacing. The young guys looked confident for not much experience. I’d caution too much excitement tho’. There still needs to be an emphasis on defense. Let’s hope “The Mayor” keeps that in mind.

  2. Marcus Anderson says:

    “Hoiball” sounds like “hoeball”. Or at least I can see it being swung that way if Bulls go through a stretch that’s not fan pleasing. In other words, implying a very negative connotation of playing like girls. Hoiberg will get killed with that. I wouldn’t go with it, Acsh. However, Bulls moved with nice fluidity and got good spacing. The young guys looked confident for not much experience. I’d caution too much excitement tho’. There still needs to be an emphasis on defense. Let’s hope “The Mayor” keeps that in mind.

    • Bo Deal says:

      Y’all Funny As Hell Man Real Ish Man Fred Is A Good Coach He’s No We’re This He Doesn’t Beat His Players To The Dang Ground Rose With Have A Good Season Under Fred. Same With Jimmy An Doug An Snell An Niko. Stop Trying To Give Fred A Down Grade It’s The Preseason An They Show They Will Kill It This Season Under Fred

  3. Marcus Anderson says:

    “Hoiball” sounds like “hoeball”. Or at least I can see it being swung that way if Bulls go through a stretch that’s not fan pleasing. In other words, implying a very connotation of playing like girls. Hoiberg will get killed with that. I wouldn’t go with it, Acsh. However, Bulls moved with nice fluidity and got good spacing. The young guys looked confident for not much experience. I’d caution too much excitement tho’. There still needs to be an emphasis on defense. Let’s hope “The Mayor” keeps that in mind.

  4. markderani says:

    Exciting times!!!

  5. Harriethehawk says:

    When is Rose and Gasol coming back????