Jim Boylen opened up about his tumultuous first six weeks as head coach of the Chicago Bulls in a Wednesday morning radio spot on 670 The Score’s Mully and Haugh Show.
What can we learn from the approximately 15 minute interview? At the least: this is really who he is.
Boylen has garnered criticism for his old school methods ranging from running suicides and cranking out pushups at practice to presiding over an offense that plays slow, shoots very few 3-pointers, and has the worst offensive rating in the NBA since he took over.
And yes, he did explicitly say he likes running the offense through the post.
Boylen mostly only confirmed what we thought about him: that he’s old school as hell, isn’t going to change anytime soon, and yes he is out here talking about practice.
“Practice is important to me. The great players I’ve been around and the great teams practice hard they compete in practice. We’re trying as a staff to raise the level of our practices. Practice matters. We have a young team, we don’t have a team of All-Stars. We don’t have a team of guys who have accomplished a whole bunch in the league. We need to work and practice and I value that. That’s establishing something with this group that important to me, a priority for me.”
Boylen further revealed that the reason Jabari Parker is no longer in exile [he’s played 10 or more minutes in the last five games], is because he’s been practicing better.
While Boylen repeatedly defended his style of coaching [“breeding competitiveness” was the theme of the interview; guess that’s the Bulls’ buzzwords of the day] and insisted he had no regrets about how his tenure began [with the whole near-mutiny thing]. However, he ever-so-subtlety at least acknowledged one mistake he made: invoking Gregg Popovich’s name so often.
“I’ve coached a lot of great players and been around a lot of great coaches and the guys I’ve worked for are intense. The difference is they’re in the Hall of Fame or they’ve won 400 games. I haven’t done that. It doesn’t mean my style is wrong it just means that I don’t have the street cred that those guys have.”
There were two more noteworthy points he made in the interview:
1) He feels he has full backing of management and ownership:
We’re on the same page of what we want to do and I think the communication part has been unbelievable for me. It’s nice to be able to pick up the phone and your owner talks to you about what he’s happy about, what he’s not happy about. Or you pick up the phone and you call John your Vice President and say this is what I’m happy about, what I’m not happy about and you can talk it out. It’s powerful.”
2) The Bulls aren’t potentially scaring off the ‘right’ free agents:
“If we are looking at free agents that don’t want to play for a competitive coach, with great experience that is going to push them are we maybe targeting the wrong guy? We want guys who are going to come in and honor what the Bulls legacy is. Tough defense, competitive people, and play the right way.”
....”We have to target the guys who want to be here. That want to be a Bull. That care about the Bulls and care about the city and the kind of basketball we want to play.”
And then the best part of the interview might have been in the last few seconds.
Q: Are players buying in, Jim?
A: Yes. [Long, awkward pause. No elaboration.]