Chicago Bulls: 3 players who should be ripping Jim Boylen

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

3. Lauri Markkanen, Power Forward

Throughout the first 65 games of the 2019-20 regular season, the Bulls carried a record of 22-43. They were roughly on pace to win the same number of regular season games in the third year of the rebuild that they did in the first. That lack of progress has a striking similarity with the production of seven-foot power forward Lauri Markkanen over the course of the last three years.

A lot of the per game stats for Markkanen in the season that is currently placed on pause due to the novel coronavirus pandemic were actually worse than what he registered during his rookie campaign. Markkanen averaged 14.7 points per game, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks, through 50 games played this season.

Markkanen even saw a dip in his field goal, three-point, and free-throw shooting percentages this season compared with each of the last two. He was getting better prior to his latest injury, which was of the pelvic nature and held him out for much of this calendar year prior to the season’s pause.

Moreover, Markkanen is a rhythm shooter and needs to be treated as such. He’s not taking as many field goal attempts as he did in the last two seasons (down around three field goal attempts per game compared to last season). And he’s not meshing well with shooting guard Zach LaVine in the rotational combinations that Boylen used this season.

Part of the struggles Markkanen is enduring falls on the shoulders of Boylen and the previous front office regime, and part goes on himself for just not having the confidence and rhythm that he’s showed in the past.