According to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson, Wendell Carter Jr. wants his head coach to draw him up more plays.
In Johnson’s postgame observations column, he snuck in there some brief, but interesting info on Carter Jr. confronting head coach Jim Boylen about the team’s game plan.
Here’s what he wrote:
Carter talked to Boylen recently about having so few plays called for him, and though he is still not a focal point of the offense, things seem to be trending in a positive direction. Carter developing into a two-way force would be a welcome development amid a season with many more losses (so far) than expected.
The comment may have been small, but it feels important, right? With his strong accountability and words of encouragement, we’ve already seen Carter Jr. turn into the leader these players need, and I guess that extends to the head coach, as well.
As the double-doubles increased and Carter Jr. appeared to have a clear advantage over several opponents, many of us were quick to bicker about the team’s lack of offense running through him. I’ve had to prevent myself from sounding like a broken record over Twitter, calling for the Bulls to feed Carter Jr. when the going gets tough. While his true value currently comes on the defensive end, he’s been one of the Bulls’ most consistent players on the offensive end with a 59.3 efficient field goal percentage (only one spot behind Chandler Hutchison, but he’s played fewer games).
Perhaps it was Carter Jr. standing up for himself or perhaps it was Boylen finally realizing what this team needs, but in the Bulls Tuesday night victory over the New York Knicks, Carter Jr. got his hands on the ball. He scored eight points in the first quarter and got six shot attempts up. Considering in the Bulls previous game against the Rockets he only recorded three attempts, I’d say that’s progress.
However, I’d like to see even more action for Carter Jr. I know this team has emphasized playing along the perimeter and popping threes, and (while they aren’t falling) that’s a nice change of pace for this organization. Although, Boylen needs to design more plays for the current best player on his team. Whether it’s increasing his usage in the pick-and-roll or simply dropping the ball to him in the paint, a continued effort should be made now to get him going early and often.
Not to mention, the guy supposedly has a decent jumper. Earlier this season he was passing on some wide-open looks behind the arc, and it might be worth encouraging him to take a couple more shots from deep. If he can find his touch from long range, the Bulls will have an even more impressive weapon on their hands.
NBC Sports Chicago’s Mark Schanowski recently wrote about Carter Jr. early season success, and he shared this interesting tidbit: “The former Duke star is averaging 13.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and has already notched seven double-doubles — the first Bulls center to accomplish that since Joakim Noah in the 2010-11 season.”
Yeah, that’s telling.
We might still be early in the season, but if we’re getting any indication of who this Bulls team really is, then we know Carter Jr. has to be heavily involved on both ends of the court. His increased effort and production should hopefully lead to an increased, designed role. Boylen’s shown a glimpse of making the adjustment already, let’s see if he keeps it up.