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Jim Boylen fits right in with also-ran mindset of the Chicago Bulls

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goal to be the (un)lovable losers?

NBA: Chicago Bulls-Press Conference Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

I am trying multiple things this season:

  1. blog more and Tweet less. If any of you are on ‘Bulls Twitter’ you know it is mostly either lame or delusional. And I get no money from Twitter Dot Com!
  2. not harp too much on the dumb stuff Jim Boylen says, especially non-basketball stuff.

But these goals are at odds when I see Boylen providing so much fodder...

The latest was to Sam Smith at the house organ (via):

I just want us to compete every play for the city, for the heritage and the history of the Bulls. People look at me when I say that like I am a complete dummy. I think it matters. I think we have to play harder for the city. We have a tough city. We’re not in LA. They don’t talk about defense in LA; they don’t. Here when you give up a layup the whole crowd is like, ‘oh.’ The air comes out.

Brief critique: this IS dumb, and doesn’t matter, and isn’t even true.

But it is instructive to how Boylen secured this job and a baffling contract extension. Maybe the most important factor was working cheaply, but beyond that Boylen also is playing the game (whether he’s intending to or not) of feeding into the Bulls franchise mindset of a self-determined underdog instead of a big-market powerhouse.

Chicago should be closer to L.A. than, like Memphis. As stated here at the end of last season, the Bulls should try some of that ‘Lakers Exceptionalism’, delusional as that is.

Instead you get this ‘toughness’ talk, and not something that actually manifests as, like, a great defense on the court (Boylen’s defense performed awfully!), but how it’s ‘tough’ to acquire talented basketball players. Reminiscent of the lead basketball decision maker, or another Reinsdorf acolyte, and clearly the preferred position of ownership: exceptional at finances, but ideally the team should always strive to be an also-ran.

Boylen needs to be like the 19th worst coach in the league for this team to make some real progress this season. It’s great that he’s excited for the chance and has a long pedigree that should help him succeed. And that the players - who actually matter, while we ‘observers’ don’t - take him seriously and buy into this whole ‘program’ he’s selling as an SEC football coach-type. And that Boylen’s statements surrounding Xs&Os (this does not include being ‘well conditioned’!) make a lot more sense. Because the other stuff has me indeed looking at him like a dummy. And for Bulls ownership and management, a useful dummy.