The 2015 season was the first for Nikola Mirotic in the NBA, and it was the last for Tom Thibodeau as head coach of the Bulls.
Thibodeau had been widely regarded as one of the league's best coaches, but he has a demanding style that can become grating to players over time, and that, along with clashes with the front office, led to the franchise deciding to go in a different direction.
In an interview with Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype, Mirotic had mostly positive things to say about his season under Thibodeau, but also admitted he's looking forward to playing under Fred Hoiberg next year in a system that allows for more individual freedom from the players.
"Were you guys in the locker room under the impression that it was going to be the last year for Tom Thibodeau as Bulls' head coach?"
"NM: We had a great group of people in Chicago with the players and the coaching staff. It always felt like family. We had good and bad times, but we were always together. When things were going badly, we never thought it was the coach's fault or were thinking this could be his final year with the team. We have been very focused on the task ahead. We knew we had a good shot at the Finals. I can only say positive things about Thibodeau. He has helped me improve. He's a difficult coach that perhaps doesn't like to play the young guys much, but you learn from him and he makes you work hard. He got you ready for the time when that opportunity could come. Like I said, we've always been together in it and we never doubted one another."
"You talked with new coach Fred Hoiberg a couple of weeks ago when he visited the Spanish National Team. How was that conversation?"
"NM: It was a very nice conversation. He's a great guy that wants to be close to the players. It's still very early to say how things will go, but we have big goals. We know he's a very offensive-minded coach, which perhaps is what the team needed -- to play with more freedom. We have very talented offensive players that can score in the open court. I'm personally looking forward to starting the new season with him."
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