Ever since head coach Jim Boylen spoke at the introductory press conference for rookies Coby White and Daniel Gafford, a new gameplan – centered around speed and versatility – has been on the agenda. And just ahead of the team’s first preseason game against Milwaukee, the coach is doubling down on its importance.
Here’s what Boylen told Bulls.com beat reporter Sam Smith earlier this month:
“I’ve tried to explain it to everybody,” Boylen said. “There’s more reasons for the multihandler system than just the basketball part and the versatility. Guys in this day and age like to have the ball a little bit. It keeps everyone involved. We’ll work on that multihandler system. I don’t want to turn it over every time, but I want to play faster, work on how to use our versatility and different combinations. And then we have to become a better defensive team. What does that look like?
“Are we going to be a rock ‘em, sock ‘em Charles Oakley, Hakeem Olajuwon type like the (1994 Knicks and ) ’94-’95 Rockets? We are not,” Boylen conceded. “But we have to be better. How? Your offense dictates your defense, too. You can’t turn the ball over and have people running the other way. We can’t take plays off. Last season we had guys take plays off.”
Put all that preconceived Boylen-bias aside, and all of this reads quite reasonable – emphasizing shared basketball on a young team can go a long way toward building chemistry.
As for the work on a “multihandler” system, that will tip-off tonight. Boylen has already mentioned that he’ll try out several different lineups (11, to be exact) to get a feel for his new squad. In the same article by Smith, the head coach brought up testing out combinations that could feature Zach LaVine and Shaquille Harrison at the three, so it’s safe to say he’s ready to get creative.
Ultimately, he seems to understand the tools at his disposal, and while many of us believe Boylen to be exactly the old school “rock’em, sock ’em” type, he might soon realize that’s no longer the current NBA model. For the Bulls, with as many (supposed) high-quality offensive weapons, the team’s offense attack will certainly have to dictate how they run on both ends of the court.
As we look toward the preseason opener, Boylen hasn’t won anyone over yet, but you can’t deny it sounds like he knows how to. The question we can start to answer tonight … can he?