As likely one of the NBA’s worst head coaches, Jim Boylen is screwing this Chicago Bulls team into the ground at the halfway mark of the season.
Entering a Jan. 15 showdown at home at the United Center against the slipping Washington Wizards, the Chicago Bulls don’t seem to have that much to play for. Head coach Jim Boylen and the Bulls look to be one more five-game losing streak away from officially chucking this season in the garbage can.
And the worst part about the fact that the Bulls are doing so bad; we’re just at the halfway point. The Bulls hold a record of 14-27 heading into this Wednesday night showdown against star shooting guard Bradley Beal and the Wizards. Former Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks is at least doing his best to right the ship with the Wizards too.
That Wizards team has far less talent and depth on their roster than the Bulls. Yet, these two teams find themselves separated by just one game in the NBA standings. All it would take is one Wizards win for them to be even with the Bulls in the Eastern Conference.
How sad is that?
A lot of blame could be spread around as to why the Bulls are underperforming so much this season. But the three-headed monster (in a negative sense) that encompasses John Paxson, Gar Forman, and Boylen is where it all comes back to. The ownership should share part of that blame too. There always seems to be a good level of raucous with any Reinsdorf-owned professional sports team (hence the Chicago White Sox).
However, there’s little to no reason to believe that the Bulls can salvage this season. They have one win over a team with a winning record this season. That leaves them with a record of 1-16 against opposition with a .500 record or better. Not much worse exists than that among teams with 14 wins or more in the NBA right now.
Boylen is where the initial set of fingers should point for shake ups to occur. The Bulls need to at least have a competent head coach scheming up this roster that actually has a fair amount of young talent. And some of the veterans coming off the bench aren’t too shabby.
But for some reason Boylen insists on keeping players like forward Thaddeus Young and center Luke Kornet in roles that don’t matchup with their skill sets at all. Young is shooting more three-pointers per 100 possessions this season than in any previous in his more than 10 years in the NBA. That’s not where he’s the most efficient.
And Kornet is being asked to cover players that are much faster than himself out on the perimeter. Kornet has the lowest number of blocks per game of his career thus far (down to 0.7). He was a pretty good rim protector during his time with the New York Knicks.
If we’re saying that the Bulls are putting Kornet in an inferior scheme to what the dysfunctional Knicks did, there’s a big problem.
Moreover, Boylen isn’t getting power forward Lauri Markkanen as many shots per game (especially from beyond the arc) as he needs to. Lauri is a rhythm shooter, hence he needs to get more than just nine field goal attempts in more than 25 minutes on the floor. That’s the amount of field goal attempts he had in the Bulls loss to the Boston Celtics on Jan. 13.
Weird individual statistical outliers for new Bulls players are all the evidence fans should need to know that Boylen is trying to force a scheme that his team doesn’t want to fit into. Buy-in is important for this Bulls locker room, and there’s apparently none of that in the Windy City at the moment.
Even if the Bulls get a win over the Wizards on Jan. 15, it won’t get them all that much closer to the Orlando Magic or Brooklyn Nets in the playoff picture in the East. Something would have to change completely prior to the trade deadline and All-Star Break for the Bulls to legitimately challenge the Magic or Nets for the eight seed in the East.
It seems like Boylen is diminishing all hope for this Bulls team. His schemes and lack of in-game adjustments are a nagging issue that are holding back this squad.