Even though Bulls games are pretty tough to watch, oftentimes the post-game press conference with non-interim head coach Jim Boylen are pretty illuminating. I recommend looking to Marcus_D on Twitter who screengrabs this thrice-weekly nonsense. While I will always maintain that there’s a possibility Boylen is just bad with the media and the players may still buy in based on what he tells them away from the cameras, it is still alarming that the coach sounds so clueless.
It’s never expressing what he can do to change things, instead it’s that cluelessness, contradictions, or uninspiring ‘positivity’. After the latest bad loss in a whole season of them so far against the Blazers, Boylen offered this up as his assessment of what went wrong.
“I just felt it was one of those nights where the ball didn’t go in for us and we didn’t respond very well to it. We made 22 (threes) Saturday night; tonight we make nine (of 39). It would be great if we could count on 14 or 15 made threes with the number we shoot, but we’ve been inconsistent that way. Somebody told me we had 18 threes in a row the second half ‘til Hutch made that one. My staff told me 15 of them were open threes; 15 of 18 open threes in the second half. They make theirs and we don’t make ours.”
This is some spin here. For one thing, halftime is pretty arbitrary unless Boylen is suggesting he made some kind of adjustment (lol). And the competitive portion of the game ended at the around 7:30 mark when ‘Hutch’ was inserted in the lineup. If you look at just the game up until that time overall, the Bulls made 8 threes and the Blazers ‘made theirs’...also with 8 threes.
But it’s true that after sinking the first three of the second-half, they then missed 13 in a row. I won’t break them all down but even if technically open they aren’t as good of shots as Boylen wants to believe.
There are a couple that are a few feet behind the line, some where there’s double-clutching before release, whatever Denzel Valentine is doing out there when the game was pretty much toast (really a grasping-at-straws move to even play him in the 2nd half), and a Shaq Harrison attempt. One miss was converted as a putback, and you could reasonably give a few truly open solid attempts to the Bulls as an expected score...so that brings the deficit to 15?
Boylen did say he’d ‘look at the film’ to better assess the quality of these looks. But it’s continually concerning (beyond annoying) that not only is he biased his observations, he doesn’t cite any logical explanation let alone adjustment beyond his usual mumbo-Jimbo.
Boylen cites ‘spirit’ as a reason the ‘response’ to missing threes. But then he also kinda says they missed them in the first place...because of spirit?
We missed five dunks, two doubles at the free throw line. We missed open threes I think we can make and I’d like our guys to take. I thought it took our spirit and we have to fight through those moments. I don’t think we’re not trying. I know we care. Sometimes our disappointment hurts our ability to make a run; that’s what we have to fix.
They only had 2 missed dunks per NBA.com, by the way. But this is truly weird shit that he is saying that they’ll hit more shots by simply feeling better, especially because his self-professed greatest attribute as a coach is getting that ‘spirit and soul’ up to par.
But acknowledging that would require some kind of self-assessment, which we know Boylen doesn’t ever do.
For one thing, focusing on the lack of ‘open’ three pointers means neglecting the glaring weakness that is their awful inside finishing. This goes beyond saying ‘missed dunks’ were due to spirit. Maybe it’s more how the defense is defending the rim, or that the Bulls keep playing short guys, or whatever happened to Lauri Markkanen. Try to strategize instead of clap, ya know?
He could also look to something simple like lineups. Boylen’s lamentation over feel-bad missed threes was concentrated in the 2nd half, but in the 1st half Kris Dunn went 0-5 from distance. They were open, sure, because that’s what the defense wanted. And because Dunn was in a lineup to start the 2nd quarter alongside one dynamic offensive player (and a bit of a chucker, which Boylen doesn’t seem to mind...) in Coby White, then more non-threatening reserves in Thad Young, Daniel Gafford, and Ryan Arcidiacono.
Boylen continued to show his ass with this comment:
“We had an offensive lineup on the floor and they didn’t guard real well...Then we had our defensive lineup on the floor and they didn’t shoot real well.”
I thought this was a team of two-way interchangeable ballers? Why can’t there be lineups with a balance of both? That may help the team’s performance more than a nonsensical intangible attribute that Boylen thinks looks good on a whiteboard but is likely met with eyerolls from the players by now.