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The Bulls are still ‘crawling’, and great now Doug Collins is involved

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Chicago Bulls Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

As has continually been harped on by this site and others, the Jim Boylen offense sucks eggs. And made worse than the results is the professed process from Boylen and others. We know about his skepticism of the 3-pointer, and love of post-ups to set the defense (which is disproven).

There’s also the blatant suppression of pace, which for one glorious half of basketball we saw opened up but has otherwise been extremely slow and boring. In the NBA’s “Boylen Era” the Bulls are next-to-last in the league with a pace just under 96.

But an interesting note here is that while Boylen has exclaimed in other cases that management is asking for these very strategies, in this case there may be some incongruity. John Paxson addressed the media following the Justin Holiday trade, and did the John Paxson thing of sounding like a total peen to eschew personal responsibility but also had words on his team’s pace:

We’ve talked about that, and the issue is we’ve got to get a little more pace to our game. Jim, Doug Collins, we all talk about it together. I don’t think you can necessarily pay attention to everything at once. You make a change in-season, it’s very hard for the coach. You didn’t have a training camp to establish things. Practice time is limited. This will be a good time for us to improve in that area. We’ve got a lot of games left.

(Boylen) wanted to try to establish something on the defensive end. We’re doing a better job there. We’re a young team. It’s going to be a work in progress for a while. And Jim knows. We talk about it every day: We’ve got to find a way offensively to get some easier shots.

Oh he stepped in it now: admitting that Doug Collins is actually ‘advising’.

Doug Collins indeed was hired as Special Crying-Shoulder to the Organization despite (or because?) his disdain for useful information, but it wasn’t really known how much influence he had. It certainly makes sense that, if necessary to advise at all, he’d advise on coaching: He’s been a coach for a very long time.

But he also has demonstrated in his coaching career the opposite of “getting a little more pace to our game”

Of course, there’s more to offense than pace, actually a lot more: the actual production and efficiency. A couple of Collins teams were very good on that end (most were average or below, but the ‘96 Pistons were 5th in ORtg) . But that takes understanding of there being an actual problem. Fred Hoiberg was certainly ineffectual in his offensive leadership but at least could recite pace-adjusted (also called ‘advanced’) statistics as evidence for his plan, whereas Boylen instead seemingly does not know what he’s talking about.

So while playing fast isn’t everything, this is to say: despite one glorious half against the Pacers and John Paxson’s usual bullshit, I wouldn’t expect the Bulls - a roster that management believes is younger and more athletic yet encourages a coach doesn’t think they’re athletic enough to run - to be improving in the pace rankings any time soon.