“We have a lot of talent offensively, and I think we’ll play with better flow offensively with Fred,” Gasol said on a conference call on Thursday. “We’ll have more freedom to play in transition and explore our abilities as individuals and as a team. As long as we understand that defense wins championships and makes the difference, and make sure we don’t neglect that side, we should be fine.”
In June, the Bulls hired Hoiberg to replace former head coach Tom Thibodeau, whom the team fired a few days prior. Hoiberg is known for his fast-paced offensive system that involves an abundance of quick decision-making and three-point shooting, which is a stark contrast to the emphasis Thibodeau put on defense for the five seasons he coached in Chicago. Hoiberg hired long-time NBA assistant Jim Boylen to serve as the team's defensive specialist.
Gasol also said he is uncertain about whether or not Hoiberg will bench him or former Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah to achieve more of a balance on the court. Gasol averaged 18.5 points and 11.8 rebounds per game last season.
“It’s not that I see myself starting, I have to work and earn that,” he said. “I don’t take anything for granted because of the way I played last year, or how I think I played in the past.”
The Bulls lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2015.
- Kayla Lombardo