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Author Topic: Time To Get Rid of Boylan  (Read 972 times)
Jason Rubin
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« on: March 17, 2008, 09:00:55 pm »
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Last year the Bulls were 49-33 during the regular season.  They came very close to making the ECF and if they did, they probably would have made it to the Finals.  We had a starting lineup of Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, P.J. Brown and Ben Wallace with Andres Nocioni coming off the bench as the sixth man.  The only other player who was really getting significant minutes was Chris Duhon.  Sefolosha and Thomas were getting scrub minutes, but were making the most of them overall.  You hardly ever saw guys like Sweetney, Schenscher or Andruskevicius.  Do you even know who two of those guys are?  Malik Allen's numbers were way down.  Khryapa was barely used.  The starters knew who they were and the bench players had a hierarchy; you were either a sixth-man type or a scrub.

Now let's look at this year.  The Bulls will probably not win 40 games - which is an embarrassment.  They have a starting lineup of Kirk Hinrich, Larry Hughes, Luol Deng, Drew Gooden and Joakim Noah.  Gooden is much better than P.J. Brown and Tyrus Thomas.  Joakim Noah is loads better than Ben Wallace.  Larry Hughes is a better defender than Gordon and nearly as good a scorer (though admittedly, that nearly as good a shooter).  Ben Gordon, Thabo Sefolosha, Andres Nocioni, Tyrus Thomas and Aaron Gray are all getting significant minutes.  This is, in my mind, the deepest bench in the league.  Our bench is deeper and our starting five is better than last year.  So why are we blowing leads and not living up to our potential?  We are a much better team than we are playing.

There are are lot of reasons.  But as of tonight's loss to the New Orleans Hornets, I believe the biggest reason is because of Jim Boylan.  I think he's a good guy, a solid coach and I had high hopes for him.  He started off well overall considering what he had to deal with.  But he's now a big problem.  Ignore the rumors that Boylan's having trouble dealing with a bunch of players as reported by the media.  Let's look at this from a basketball perspective.

Theoretically, when you have a team that is as deep as the Bulls, you can play games solely based on matchups; this is how Boylan coaches the Bulls.  However, what works in theory, does not necessarily translate to what would work in reality.  Boylan is constantly mixing things up to find the right combination of players to win a game.  It usually takes him a little while to find that combination.  And while it may work for awhile or even throughout most of a game, the other team will constantly try to adjust to Boylan's changes and they'll eventually figure out how to break through the lineup that's on the floor.  By the time Boylan realizes that the lineup he has on the court is no longer working, he has to scramble to figure out another lineup that will work.  Sometimes he figures out the right lineup and other times he does not.

So how does one fix this problem?  You shorten your rotation.  Someone has to be the odd man out.

We have too many guards.  Hinrich is the closet player to being a true point guard on the team even though he's really a combo guard.  His overall play of late has been garbage.  He should be out of the rotation and Gordon, Hughes and Sefolosha should take turns playing the point.  Noah and Gray should be the only centers ever on the court unless they're both in foul trouble.  Gooden should not have to move to center on occasion.  Having players constantly change what position they are playing is confusing to the players and when one guy is out of their regular position, everyone else on the floor has to adjust.  Nocioni needs to go back to really being a sixth man and should be the second option to Gooden.  The Bulls were very successful last year with having Nocioni and Deng slashing to the basket.  But they hardly ever use that combination this year.  This is all because of bad coaching.

Instead of trying to find something new that works, Boylan should use methods that have worked.  The Deng/Nocioni team is a good example of this.  However, if Boylan was to create new methods to provide overall efficiency to the team, he has to keep on having the same players perform those same methods over and over again.  These players look lost a lot of the time.  And when it comes to the fourth quarter, they don't know who should have the ball to take command.  Tonight the Hornets used Paul and the other night the 76ers used Iguodala as their go-to guy.  Why is no one letting Gordon take it almost every possession?

This is a guy who was sixth man of the year as a rookie because he was known for being a fourth quarter guy.  Why isn't he getting the respect that he deserves from his teammates?  These guy are not playing team ball.  There are so many guys in the rotation that they all are playing for themselves so that they're not the odd man out like Chris Duhon is right now.

If Jim Boylan can't recognize these simple truths that a mere fan can plainly see, then he's got to go.  I have no doubt in my mind that given a different situation, Boylan could be a decently successful NBA coach.  However, he's not a great coach and this is not the type of team that he can coach with success.  He should be used as an assistant coach again if he wants to remain in Chicago next season.  As a fan of this team that watches every game the Bulls play, I don't want to see him to continue being the head coach of the Bulls anymore.  And keep in mind that I am saying this as someone who usually criticizes the players and doesn't like to criticize the coaches for not being able to control everything that their players do.  But enough is enough.  It is time for Jim Boylan to go.
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