If the Chicago Bulls were truly serious about this being a fresh start for the franchise, they couldn’t let polarizing head coach Jim Boylen stick around.
It finally happened. After nearly two seasons of cliches and idiotic coaching decisions, the Chicago Bulls finally did the right thing and relieved head coach Jim Boylen of his duties, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Bulls fans have eagerly awaited this moment ever since the team announced former Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas as executive vice president of basketball operations. But even after Karnisovas was installed, he took so much time hemming and hawing over whether he would keep Boylen that fans and media members wondered if he was merely a new face on the same old cheap, “Good Ole Boy” regime that has kept this once-proud franchise mired in mediocrity (at best).
Thankfully, common sense won out and now the search begins for Boylen’s replacement. Wojnarowski has already noted in a follow-up tweet that the team has tabbed Nuggets assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr., Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin, Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, and, most appetizing, former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson as potential hires.
However you feel about each of those candidates, all of them are almost assuredly an upgrade over Boylen, given that he was easily the worst coach in the league. Somehow, his 39-84 record through 123 games only opens the door to his hall of ineptitude.
Once inside, you’ll find all sorts of lowlights, like when he nearly sparked a team mutiny in his first week on the job after he sat the starters in a blowout loss so he could run an extra-hard practice the next day. Or when he bought a time clock for the players to punch in and out of practice.
How about the time when he, after adamantly insisting that he doesn’t hoard timeouts, elected not to use a timeout to sub out the injured Daniel Gafford –Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle had to call one. Of course, he’ll gladly use one if his team has a fast break opportunity, a gaffe that literally made this team a laughingstock. And that’s before you delve into all of the empty offensive sets and defensive schemes that made this team practically unwatchable.
Of course, all of this doesn’t fall solely on Boylen. After all, he didn’t promote himself when the team fired Fred Hoiberg 24 games into the 2018-19 season. He was a symptom of the Gar Forman and John Paxson disease, not to mention the Reinsdorfs, who probably only kept him around because of how little Boylen made relative to the other head coaches in the league.
GarPax were the ones who ironically went with and extended Boylen to give the young Bulls a hard-nosed coach to develop under. keep in mind that these were the same people who let Tom Thibodeau leave for having a nearly-identical personality — with a shrewder basketball acumen — and hired Hoiberg in the first place because they liked him.
They were the ones who let this reach the point where promising youngsters like Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. either stagnated or regressed under Boylen’s watch. And they let him stick around until every Bulls player in his orbit, even the ones who didn’t mind him, resented his abrasive style.
Some people will probably miss Boylen and his quotes that were ripped from the pages of a sports movie screenplay — though you can go here if you need a fix — but for everyone else, this is a much-needed fresh start for the Bulls under Karnisovas. Yes, there’s a chance that his successor doesn’t fare much better, but that shouldn’t dull the excitement surrounding this news, because no matter who the Chicago Bulls pick, that person won’t be Jim Boylen.