It’s no secret that Bulls shooting guard Keith Bogans isn’t winning over legions of fans with is current play. In fact to be considered a shooting guard don’t you have to—you know—shoot? What is even more of a brain teaser is why does Head Coach Tom Thibodeau continue to night after night, insert Bogans into the lineup, especially when he has two very talented bench players at that position who night after night get more minutes and have higher productivity than Bogans? Well the coach gave some insight into that question and things got a little tense.
I’m concerned about our team. It’s collective. It’s not on Keith. It’s on the team. Our readiness to play. When we’re ready to play, we play well. And sometimes we’re lethargic, but to put it all on Keith is unfair. It’s not right.
This all came after Bogus Bogans unflattering performance against the Lakers, where it actually seemed like the Lakers didn’t even acknowledge Bogan‘s presence on the court. When asked of his opinion on this matter Coach Thibodeau got very defensive, responding:
I don’t think that’s the case at all,” Thibodeau said. “I think [the Lakers'] commitment to Derrick [Rose] and their commitment to Carlos [Boozer] dictated where it was going. When you evaluate the offense, you ask yourself, Is it inside out? Are there two on the ball? Are we making the right play? When they raise up to shoot is it a good shot? We don’t judge … OK, he had a couple go in and out. To me, those were good shots. I had no problem with that.
There is two ways of looking at this situation; one side being very negative and the other very positive with a hint of negativity. First off, the negative, and that is Coach Thibodeau‘s swift and stern comments defending his as-of-now starting shooting guard means that Bogans is going to remain in that position for the time being. That leads into the positive which is Thibodeau is sticking to his guns and standing behind his man even when he is slumping. This speaks volumes about Thibodeau and shows he’s not going to be bullied around and thats a quality every team wants in a coach. Also Thibodeau’s standing strong behind his current starter when he has two, arguably, more talented bench players at that position must mean he sees something in Bogans that we aren’t. That also happens to be the hint of negativity amongst the positive; the fact remains Bogans is the starter for the foreseeable future and although he scored two 3-pointers against the Timberwolves, that’s hardly enough to fully reinvest faith in him. Plus the fact that Kyler Korver, who is quickly becoming a fan favorite and from a management point of view is very marketable to Bulls fans, and is waiting in the ranks and sitting on the bench isn’t pleasing to Bulls fans. However the solution there is obvious and is already happening; start Bogans (for whatever reason), then sub in Korver and Ronnie Brewster throughout the game so they total more minutes, then everybody is happy. But if Thibodeau sticks behind Bogans too strongly, it can end badly for both; for a different sport example of this see the Brad Childress-Tavaris Jackson Experiment. That’s on a more extreme level but it’s in the same ballpark.
Fact of the matter is, the whole Bogans in the starting lineup bit is a real complicated one and a prime example of the cliche, “That’s why the fans aren’t coaches”, but you don’t have to want to coach the team to be frustrated with Bogans eating up a roster spot that could be filled by D-Leaguer Kyle Weaver who is flourishing at the moment. Then again, Bogans must be starting for a reason and the Bulls are winning so we will give the coaching staff the benefit of the doubt for now. But as soon as the Bulls start losing again, Bogans will be a hot topic again and radicals will be placing Thibodeau on something hot as well.