President Barack Obama did make it to the United Center for Tuesday night’s 2015-16-season-opening tilt between the Chicago Bulls and the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers, arriving late in the first quarter of the contest and taking a courtside seat. (Must be nice.)
Shortly thereafter, Obama spoke with TNT’s David Aldridge about the changes his beloved Bulls made this offseason, starting with the decision to fire longtime head coach Tom Thibodeau — a decision about which Obama was upset — and hire former NBA player and executive Fred Hoiberg, who’d made his name as a coach at Iowa State with a free-flowing, perpetual-motion brand of offensive basketball.
“I think it’s very promising,” Obama said. “I think you’ve got a new coach, he’s opening up the offense a little bit. The question’s going to be if they can hang on to the defense with the new offense.”
It’ll likely take some time for the Bulls to get acclimated to Hoiberg’s scheme, but given the playmaking talent in the All-Star backcourt of max-contract men Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, the president believes a better-spaced Chicago attack will get up to speed in short order.
[BDL’s 2015-16 NBA Season Previews: All 30 teams, all in one place]
“Look, if you’ve got Butler, you’ve got Rose, you want to make sure that they can get into the paint and do what they do creatively,” he said. “It’s going to be a little less clogged up, and I’m feeling optimistic. I like how Derrick’s playing right now, and Butler’s been a terrific young player.”
While he does expect big things from the Bulls this season, the president made it very clear where he thinks the balance of power in the league continues to lie.
“These are two of the top teams in the East,” he said. “I think, in the West, it’s a free-for-all. The Clippers, Golden State, the Spurs, Oklahoma [City], Houston — that’s a tough lineup. So I wouldn’t want to be battling it out over there. I’m glad my Bulls are in the East.”
Sounds like a pretty knowledgeable First Fan to me.
– – – – – – –