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Learn the Bulls defensive concepts from assistant coach Jim Boylen

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courtesy of Dunc’d On

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The man engineering the Chicago Bulls defense stopped by the Dunc’d On Podcast to talk coaching, player development, and advanced defensive concepts.

Bulls associate head coach Jim Boylen has served in that role with this team since 2015. He shed light into the inner workings of the Bulls schemes both offensively but (mostly) defensively.

Communication, defending corner 3-point field goals, rim protection, and being able to recover back to a help position (listen to the podcast) are all concepts that Boylen has tried to instill in the heads of this young Bulls team.

“Defensively, we kind of believe in the math here,” Boylen said. “So taking away corner threes, contest the rim, limit rim opportunities, and make people play between the 3-point line and the restricted area.”

So Doug Collins hasn’t deterred the Bulls away from advanced analytics yet. Good to know.

After the initial generalities on offensive and defensive philosophies, Boylen and Duncan delved into a discussion on defense that you’d need a PhD in basketball to understand (or I’m just too simple-minded?).

He also talked about how the Bulls coaches divvy up skill development and film-watching sessions in terms of which coaches work with which players. According to Boylen, the Bulls have coaches that are assigned to certain players for their on-court work and for film sessions (for example he’s assigned to Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, and Zach LaVine and on-court sessions are scripted in terms of what is worked on). However, he said that the coach-player assignments aren’t rigid and that there’s a constant dialogue between all players and coaches.

He also believes that the Bulls response to the 3-20 start to the season was a testament to the culture the team built.

“We never felt like we were in a losing streak, we never felt like 3-20,” Boylen said about the mindset of the team during the rough start to the season. “That’s usually not the case (for most other losing teams). We never felt that way. We worked hard in practice, film sessions were good, people were locked in and passionate about what we were doing so I was really thankful for that while were going through that.”

The advanced analytics defensively aren’t looking that great overall (24th in defensive rating), but they’ve had good stretches, and a lot of people expected this Bulls team to be an absolute eyesore on that end of the floor which they haven’t been. Given that the Bulls have been disjointed this season in terms of guys going in and out of the lineup with injuries and/or because of good/bad play, Boylen has done a good job with this young group.

Embed of podcast below, Boylen interview starts at 34 minute mark: