I loved seeing this bit of actual journalism out there surrounding the Bulls and their next John-Paxson-coach-firing Jim Boylen.
It’s one thing to relay whatever Boylen says regarding his retrograde offensive philosophies, it’s another to push back with skepticism, and yet a step further to actually research it and declare it incorrect, which Stephen Noh of The Athletic did here:
Like most of Boylen’s explanations, the idea that the Bulls need to play through Lopez to improve their transition defense does not hold true to even the slightest amount of scrutiny. Boylen’s assertion that 3-pointers lead to more long rebounds and transition baskets has been disproven by many analysts, including Seth Partnow, the former managing editor of the analytics site Nylon Calculus and now the director of basketball research for the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Not only do missed threes, especially the above-the-break threes which low attempt teams such as the Wolves and Wizards often eschew, lead to the proportionally fewest transition attempts, those attempts which do occur are not especially damaging,” Partnow wrote in a guest column for the Washington Post.
So what does lead to more transition opportunities for opponents? Turnovers, missed layups and out-of-control shots. And all of those things are up dramatically as a direct result of Boylen’s offensive system.
Boylen and the Bulls are performing a weird flex lately because the team hasn’t lost all their games. There’s been some obfuscating here with the opponents not caring and being lulled to sleep by Boy-ball (still convinced DeMar DeRozan was point-shaving here), plus Boylen’s own rotation moves where he’s relied on veterans, removed outright poor defenders, and simply got better players healthier than they were under Fred Hoiberg. But rest assured it’s all still mostly terrible.
And it’s made worse with the comments made after games or practices. As the old saying goes, better to remain silent and be thought a meathead than to speak and to remove all doubt. Whether it’s effusive ‘pride’ in a bad performance or getting choked up over ‘the program’, nearly every day Boylen is providing more ammo against him.
Then again...maybe he is performing well with the people that matter. Boylen’s frequently said he has the support of his bosses and they’ve even directed him to behave this way. They’re still ultimately run by an absentee octogenarian who likely really enjoys hearing reverence towards his franchise, and a paternalistic weirdo who probably does indeed think kids today don’t do enough push-ups.
The real legacy of the Bulls is having inexperienced coaches who are affordable, then eventually running them out of town with pettiness. Boylen has the first part down:
According to a league source, Boylen hasn’t asked for a bump in pay with his new title. He’s operating under his current deal — at least for the rest of this season — at just more than $800,000.
(warning: I’ve only seen this from Joe Cowley, but also there haven’t been reports of a raise anywhere else)
And as for when Boylen’s eventually fired - because to use his own terms...c’mon - I had to chuckle through depressed tears when reading this informed speculation from KC Johnson:
I’d say the Bulls would have to get blown out for long successive stretches and/or have multiple incidents of player unrest for Boylen not to be retained...Beyond how much management and ownership think Boylen is the right voice at this time, I don’t see the Reinsdorfs paying three head coaches next season.
That’s what I call championship standards!