Jim Boylen had plenty to say earlier today, which is always a scary sentence.
Let’s go over his comments alongside some thoughts of my own:
- First things first, the head coach spoke about the status of Otto Porter (sprained foot), who will apparently remain out against the New York Knicks tomorrow night. I don’t think any of us imagined Porter would practice today, let alone return to action after only a one-game absence, but it’s worth sharing now that it’s official. No update on Porter’s timetable has been provided, so the veteran forward remains out indefinitely. With two big matchups against the Milwaukee Bucks and one against the Brooklyn Nets coming up, getting Porter back in the lineup sooner than later is a must.
- Boylen also told reporters Lauri Markkanen (sore oblique) had a non-contact practice today but is set to play tomorrow. For a player desperately trying to find his mojo, let’s hope the soreness doesn’t linger.
- Jim Boylen vs. Denzel Valentine is the player-coach feud we didn’t know the NBA needed.
When asked why Denzel Valentine is out the rotation, Bulls coach Jim Boylen says "because I said so." He said he needs to stay ready "because I think he needs some seasoning, he needs to play and he needs to grow" in all areas. Valentine tells ESPN, " I feel like I should play."
— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) November 11, 2019
- Okay, just to be clear, I’m totally kidding and don’t believe this is a feud at all. Obviously, Valentine wants to clock some legitimate NBA minutes after missing the entirety of last season, but that doesn’t mean he should. With that being said, Boylen still should have avoided the “because I said so” reply to this question. You’re not my Dad! While I don’t think any of us are dying to see some Valentine even with this 3-7 start, it probably can’t hurt to give him a shot, right? I’d be willing to test him out in the actual rotation with a short leash firmly in hand. After all, Valentine did post a pretty impressive performance in his one game with the Windy City Bulls, recording 25 points and 18(!) rebounds.
- We can’t pretend like the Bulls couldn’t use some more three-point shooting and rebounding help. Again, I’m not calling for Valentine to get minutes yet, but I’m not saying he shouldn’t, either. On one hand, it’s quite possible his size can help in ways a player like Ryan Arcidiacono can’t (specifically rebounding). On the other hand, a more methodical player, we have no idea if he can even keep up with the Bulls’ quick pace and hit his shots. Either way, he will not move the needle very much for this team.
- Boylen shared a lot of nice stats with us because numbers are cool.
More Boylen: "I expect us to break through and shoot the ball better, finish better. We have an improving basketball team. I have a belief in this group of guys. We’re going to keep working at what we do well." Said Bulls need to clean up defensive rebounding, corner contests.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) November 11, 2019
- I’m not saying those stats aren’t positives. In several ways, the Bulls have shown some progress on the defensive end over these last couple of games. Not to mention, the team getting open looks gives you at least some hope they’ll eventually start hitting their shots. All those numbers remain hollow though until the Bulls start winning games. Boylen shouldn’t be focused on those stats; he should be focused on the win column.
- As for the Bulls expected breakthrough, I can’t rule it out. Time and time again we’ve seen this team compete well (before a disastrous collapse). The Bulls kept up with the Lakers and Rockets, and that’s positive regardless of how the other team performed. If the team as a whole can just figure out how to close, it’s possible this is a very different Bulls team by the end of November. Although, I wouldn’t hang your hat on it.