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Jim Boylen is in full meatball mode and it’s not even training camp yet

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we’re not even at training camp, but Camp Boylen will likely be something

NBA: Chicago Bulls at New York Knicks Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

This ‘news’ item is very similar to all information about the upcoming 2019-20 Chicago Bulls season. It sounds good...until you remember Jim Boylen is the head coach.

The Chicago Sun-Times’s Joe Cowley is well-versed in performative tough-guy nonsense, and that was likely why he was so effective in this column over the weekend (via). Cowley didn’t appear to have to do much to get Jim Boylen talking, and Jim Boylen talks like a college football coach a couple games-below-.500 where a better record would help him avoid being taken down by a recruitment scandal.

This is supposed to be about Tomas Satoransky. Satoransky is currently doing very well for this native Czech Republic in this summer’s FIBA World Cup (we’ll have a recap when his team’s run is over), and “Sato’s” versatility, durability, and under-the-radar productivity should help the Bulls this season. It looks to be a good move by the Bulls.

But here comes Jimbo the talking gym sock, saying stuff that isn’t particularly galling, but more makes you question whether you really want the lowest-paid coach in the league guiding this most critical year of the rebuild (until the next one).

Going top-down in this article, here’s Boylen on fear (and balls):

He knows he’s going to play because he doesn’t have any fear. See, we have guys in this league who are scared — scared of competition, scared of competing, scared of, ‘Am I going to play?’ ‘Sato’ has no fear he’s going to play. He doesn’t worry about that. When he plays, he’s going to play his balls off, and there’s beauty in that.’’

Then Boylen just ethers Jabari Parker.

We were 7-5 in February because, first of all, we got rid of [Parker]...

Who honestly deserves it, but Boylen’s bosses also insisted that signing Parker wasn’t a mistake AND they have no bad relationships with any players in the league.

Back to Satoransky, who Boylen praises (with ominous inclusion of “he can post up”...) to a level that is worthy of excitement from all Bulls fans, only to be taken to an extra/weird Jim Boylen level:

He throws the ball ahead very well. We’re putting in a running game, and we’re going to run more. Sometimes guys have the excuse of, ‘Well, I’m not going to run out because no one is going to throw it to me.’ Well, this [expletive] guy is going to throw it ahead. He fills a lot of boxes for me.’’

[Don’t you check boxes, not fill them?]

And next, this now-typical Jim Boylen bit about how he, Jim Boylen, is a great communicator. Keep in mind so far as a head coach this has shown only to work on John Paxson and Jerry Reinsdorf’s kid.

When we first spoke, I just told him the truth. It’s amazing how guys respond to the truth. When you promise a guy something, he says to himself, ‘Who else is he promising [expletive] to?’ When you don’t promise anyone anything except coming in and doing work so we can be a team, it resonates with these guys now.’

This is the same guy who began his reign from the lead chair by humiliating his players then very much not telling the truth to them afterwards about practice.

Of course, it came to Boylen’s favorite bit, being a tough guy. This is something Boylen values above all else: When his players don’t perform well, it’s because lack of toughness. His guys need to be tougher this first full year of Boy-ball.

Satoransky really excited Boylen in this department when he attempted to eschew concussion protocol:

Bobby [Portis] took him out [on a flagrant foul]. I saw him in the hallway after that game. I walked up to him, and he was already showered and dressed, talking to some people, and I said, ‘Hey, how you doing, man?’ Because that was a nasty fall, if you recall. He was like, ‘Coach, I’m going to be fine. I’m ready to play tomorrow.’ It wasn’t, ‘Yeah, Coach, I’m banged up or he hit me hard.’ It was, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’ I mean, he looked like he had a full concussion, but I just like that mindset of, ‘No, I’m playing’

Satoransky did wind up playing the next game, 4 days later. And his dependability is an asset.

But it’s weird to hear Boylen take Cowley’s lead and question last season’s roster - including guys like Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen - for not being available. We know he was ‘proud’ of Chandler Hutchison playing hurt. John Paxson surely wouldn’t agree he acquired unavailable players (let alone terrible depth behind them), hill tell you the injuries were all rotten luck! But if that’s the case why is Satoransky valuable due to an innate ability to...what, manage pain?

This next one is less egregiously macho but also kinda strange coming from your head coach of a professional team:

He’s one of these guys that as I’m talking to him about what we value, he’s nodding his head, ‘I got it, Coach. I know. I know what we have to do. I know where we’re going.’ He never asked about minutes, never asked about starting. He never asked about shots, the offense, and it’s not because he’s a dumb-ass. He just knows what really matters.

It’s entirely possible that Boylen isn’t a terrible NBA head coach. While true that’s all he’s shown to be so far, it’s tough taking over a team midseason. Maybe with a full camp and a contract extension (oh god!), Boylen gets his players to buy in to the talk. Hey, they’re typically on the meathead spectrum too, not jaded blogger-types. It’s pretty neat he went overseas to connect with his new players early. AND it’s possible that Boylen knows what he’s doing strategically, and employs good managerial skills when it comes to running an NBA team.

In that version, Boylen merely sounds like a doofus to guys outside of the building who can’t possibly see what John Paxson sees in said building. Boylen’s then merely below-average, and more important factors like the acquisitions of Satoransky (and as Boylen correctly emphasizes in this interview, Otto Porter) get this team progressing.

That’s the best-case scenario, ultimately good for the team, though admittedly still a bit of a bummer - because damn, this will be annoying to listen to all year.

Addendum: shout-out to Joe Cowley being a shithead

I don’t know Joe Cowley, but I think he’s just doing a character when acting like a tough dude. He really should be writing a column and be a ‘shock’ radio host - baby boomers still consume that stuff, right?

Because as a reporter, this kind of shit is more glaring:

Satoransky isn’t the typical Euro...if he gets punched, he’s punching back.

What a dick!

  1. Stereotyping European players is so 2000-late
  2. Shots fired at Nikola Mirotic for...getting his face broken and sent to the hospital?
  3. The implication that Satoransky responded differently isn’t true. After the Portis foul, he was out of the game and then complained to the media that Portis made a dirty play.

The frequent embellishments and inaccuracy is mostly why I don’t relay Cowley stuff here (#CowleyTho), but his act helped get direct quotes from Boylen, so good work you turd.