Alright, it’s no secret that Jim Boylen, The Thumb, Kingpin… is running this team like a complete clown show, but this has gone on long enough. It used to be you’d get the occasional sound bite of him saying something stupid, a player voicing their displeasure, a loss that should have been a win, or a player-led mutiny against their head coach… you know, the usual stuff.
As of late, the normal dysfunction and comments from players about being told not to do certain things, change their games in areas they’ve had success, voicing their opinions about the coaching plan, etc. have seemed to have ramped up over the past week. It’s been a joke all season, but let’s do a quick recap of where this recent string of dysfunction began going off the rails.
After a game against the Pelicans on January 8th, both Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine had some interesting comments after the game regarding the team making adjustments throughout the game:
“It’s starting to get repetitive. Keep saying it, saying it, saying it. It’s going to get to a time where, are we going to do something about it? We still have a chance to be in the race for the playoffs. It’s gotta mean something to this locker room.”
“We got outplayed. They locked into what we were doing. They went into their halftime and adjusted their offense a little bit and picked us apart. Same storyline. I think we’re a good team with a lot of good pieces. It’s just upsetting when we can’t put it together and get wins. We work hard. I work hard individually. I try to give it my all. When you do that and it doesn’t work out, you get a little pissed off.”
I don’t know about you but that SCREAMS coaching problem to me. Let’s move on to Thad Young.
As you may know, Thad Young was the big Free Agent that the Bulls signed this off-season. K.C. Johnson, Chicago Bulls Insider, had a chance to talk to Thad Young recently about how things have been going this season, and ask him about his uptick in 3-point shooting. There’s a lot of dysfunction embedded in this article, but here’s a highlight:
When asked about him averaging almost two more 3-point attempts than his career average this season, up from the whopping 1.5:
“Yeah, I mean that’s not how I played pretty much my whole career. But like I said, its what’s being asked of me. I’m the type of guy my coach asks me to do something, if he asks me to run through a brick wall, I know it’s going to hurt but I’m going to try and run through that brick wall,” Young said. “So it is what it is. I’ve always been a team-first guy. I’ve always been a guy who listens to the coaching staff and what they’re trying to instill in us and what they’re trying to do and then try to go out there and accomplish the mission.”
Square peg, meet round hole. Great job by GarPax in signing a guy that fits perfectly into Jim Boylen’s high powered offense. A guy who’s going into his 13th season should change up his game since what’s he’s been doing the past 12 has caused him to struggle to find a team that wants him… Who says you can’t teach an old dog, new tricks, right? I guess in fairness to GarPax, Boylen probably looked at the Free Agents available, saw Young, started licking his chops at the potential of turning him into his 3 point specialist, and begged them to sign him this off-season. He’s just a savant that sees the game a different way. After the Celtics game Young was asked about Boylen finally using him in the post:
Boylen said Bulls utilized Young in post because of Celtics' small lineup. Is it something they could employ against any lineup? Young: "That’s up to Coach to look at the film and see if he wants to do something with that."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 14, 2020
Ahh Boylen was “forced” into playing Young in the post more against the Celtics’ small lineup, where he’s comfortable. He ended up with 17 pts and going 8-14 from the field (1-4 from 3).
On to the latest with Lauri Markkanen and his game against those same Celtics:
“I don’t know what to say. I’ve had my moments. But obviously, I expect more out of myself. I’m disappointed with myself because if I played at a higher level, we’d probably have more wins.”
As a follow up to that question per K.C. Johnson, he was asked if he could make more of an impact with more minutes and more shots:
“That’s our system now.” Said he had to watch film of games he did make big impact and needed to rebound more. “I always look in the mirror”
Boylen’s system again. Did you know… In this system, Lauri is averaging career lows in just about every stat that matters? FG made, FG attempted, FG%, 3Pt%, Rebounds, Blocks, and Points? He’s had a major drop off from last year across the board as well. This is the same guy that NBA analysts were saying, if there was a do-over in the 2017 draft, he would have been picked Top-3 with Tatum and Mitchell. This isn’t the first time this season that Markkanen’s usage has been questioned, it’s just the latest.
Last but not least, we got this special nugget from an article in The Athletic:
According to Coby White, the Chicago Bulls told him that his midrange shots were "a bad shot."
The midrange shot is something that Coby is good at it. Just let him play his game.
Don't understand this at all.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) January 14, 2020
Coby White, the latest poor soul to be brought into this franchise, made it all the way through college under Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams playing a certain type of game. A game that played to his strengths. A game he was never told to change. Apparently, a game that Jim Boylen does not like.
I won’t even get into Boylen’s comments about where he thinks the team stands at the halfway point, but they can be read here. It’s just more of the same, clueless rambling over and over and he sounds like he’s happy with the team to a degree.
I guess you have to give credit where credit is due though. Their defense is middle of the pack and is averaging 105.7 ppg on offense this season, good enough for 25th in the NBA. They are averaging more than the Golden State Warriors though! Wait… do you think Boylen walks into Gar and Pax’s offices and is like, “Listen, we’re only like 5 games out of the 8th spot in the East (despite an abysmal record) AND we score more points that the Warriors. THE WARRIORS JOHN!” and they look at each other, shrug their shoulders, and say “You know what, you’re right, this season isn’t all that bad.”
Jim Boylen needs to go and I, like many others, don’t have much confidence that the organization will make that move. I mean… after the mutiny and stellar play last year, they gave him an extension, without even interviewing anyone else. At this point though, it’s not just this coaching staff calling bad plays, sounding like an idiot at the podium, or even players calling out the game plan. The Bulls have their top picks, that they tanked for or traded their best player for, regressing, not being developed properly, or constantly injured (Carter Jr.’s injury problems might be the only thing Boylen isn’t responsible for…might be). This is a HUGE problem that needs to be resolved and it starts with getting this guy outta town and just tanking ONCE AGAIN the remainder of the season. If they don’t, the Bulls are going to have to rebuild the rebuild.