If Jim Boylen Is Sticking Around, He Must Be Willing to Change

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If Jim Boylen Is Sticking Around, He Must Be Willing to Change

Chicago Bulls

Does this offensive scheme make me look fat?

Is this pick-and-roll coverage too tight?

“No honey, you’re looking great.” 

Like a couple of supportive significant others, Gar Forman and John Paxson are telling their head coach he’s looking just fine. And thus, Jim Boylen is feeling confident.

“Since I’ve been here I’ve never felt more supported than I am right now,” Boylen told the media before Wednesday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons. “From ownership, management and John [Paxson]. We talk every day and we communicate, and we’re in step. We’re in step in a lot of ways, and we’re also in step in our frustration where we’d like to play better more consistently.’’ Aw. How sweet.

According to Boylen, support is at an all-time high, even with the Bulls rebuilding efforts feeling close to an all-time low.

Indeed, a 5-10 start to a season backboned by a playoff push sure hasn’t made many NBA analysts or fans feel confident about where this team is heading. The Bulls’ two biggest building blocks, Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine, have been anything but, and they’re hardly the only issue on the court. And while criticism directed towards general player execution is fair, it’s the head coaches job to set them up for success. And Boylen has continually come up short in that respect.

So when The Sun-Times discussed the Bulls shortcomings and Boylen’s status within the organization following Wednesday’s game – which you can check out in full right here – one quote stood out above the rest:

“What I’m excited about, and I think what John and Gar [Forman] and Jerry and Michael [Reinsdorf] are excited about is we have a system at both ends now that we can coach to and develop to,’” Boylen said. “That’s exciting. In these moments that we need to play better, we need to play better. And we think we will, we believe we will, and that’s where it’s at.”

Ignore the last sentences where Boylen is teaching all of us about redundancy and focus on what he says before that. Boylen contends that the Bulls now have a system on both ends of the floor, and apparently that’s really exciting. I suppose finally adjusting to the current NBA trend of shooting more three’s is exciting (albeit late), but what if those systems aren’t working?

In other words, Boylen’s comments tell us what we’re seeing from the Bulls right now is what we’ll be seeing moving forward, and that’s kind of worrisome when you consider the actual production/performance.

Currently, the five-out offense has the Bulls last in the league in offensive rating. Defensively, things have slowly been improving, but we’ve also seen how hard it’s been for some of the younger players to grasp a more complicated, aggressive approach.

All coaches carry a system. Great coaches tweak their system when it isn’t working. Truthfully, we don’t know yet if Boylen will adjust things if they continue on their current trend – he very well may. Statements like these, however, make me continue to feel like he believes the players are the problem and not him.

We’ve already heard the head coach throw his guys under the bus after games, but how long before he looks himself in the mirror?

Oh, this system is not flattering. I should change.



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is a writer for Bleacher Nation and a human being. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.