If Jim Boylen sounds like a man grasping for anything to inspire confidence in his job performance, well, there might be a reason for that.
The Chicago Bulls head coach is 23-55 since taking over for Fred Hoiberg in 2018, and his young, potential-laden roster has yet to show much — if any — improvement.
Which is how you end up in the position where Boylen was after Friday’s 107-103 home loss to a reeling Portland Trail Blazers team, quoting a movie about baseball ghosts to explain his reluctance to adapt his game plan with basketball players who are very much alive.
The exchange borders on incoherent and laughable, and while the video is a must-watch, the transcription of it is truly mind-boggling.
Reporter: What makes you think the wins will come?— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) November 30, 2019
Jim Boylen: "If you build it, they will come." pic.twitter.com/3jJEXAgAKX
The coach is asked how much the team just needs a win right now after dropping three straight.
“We need to keep playing the way we’re playing,” Boylen begins. “Which is hard and together. The wins will come. Wins are always good. But we’re building this thing. We got the blocks being laid and I like our effort tonight, I like our togetherness and I like our competitiveness.”
That, of course, prompts reporters to ask what makes Boylen think the wins will come.
“If you build it, they will come,” Boylen says, incorrectly quoting the film Field of Dreams. “Have you seen that movie?”
After a reporter points out that the wins haven’t come nearly a full season’s worth of games into his Bulls tenure, Boylen starts to spiral.
“Ok, well, I’m not going to dispute you on that. You’re right. I’m going to look at what we can grow, what I can teach better, what we need to learn, what we do well and do it better. What we don’t do well, fix it and do it better.”
Remember, the question was, “how bad does this team need a win?”
That Boylen has gone 78 games and still needs to evaluate what his team does and doesn’t do well should be as concerning as his winning percentage.
This isn’t to beat up on a coach for a goofy answer after a rough November loss, but it’s not happening in a vacuum, either.
The Bulls are spiraling and it doesn’t seem that anyone is on the same page. Not starting guard Zach LaVine, who beefed with his coach last week. Not Boylen, who can’t figure out how to develop the likes of LaVine, Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen into the core that was promised. Not general manager Gar Forman, who stands behind Boylen’s approach. And not team president Michael Reinsdorf, who is reportedly evaluating Forman’s job after years of unconditional support.
The Bulls are a mess. If Boylen is going to keep quoting movies, he should at least pick a genre that better reflects the team. Something like comedy — or horror.
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