The Chicago Bulls are not a very good basketball team right now. The latest loss to the injury-riddled Pacer team is the team’s fifth loss in the past seven games. Missing three starters in the game, Indiana pummeled Chicago for three of the four quarters on Nov. 3rd. Zach Lavine scored 21 points on 8-of-20 shooting and attempted only two free throws total in the game. An unacceptable mark for their best player.
Their 2-5 start has been a shock, to say the least. The roster that’s been assembled by President John Paxson, on paper, looked like a fringe playoff team. Not to mention that the team had one of the weakest schedules to start the year. The kool-aid was being sipped by some of the Bulls fanbase desperate for a winner at the United Center.
There’s still a lot of basketball left to be played this season and time to answer many of the doubts surrounding this team but the clock is ticking.
The biggest issue for the Bulls so far this season has been their three-point defense. As a team, they currently rank 19th in the league in opponent three-point percentage at 36.3 percent. On the road, that number rises to 39.5 percent. A lot of this comes off the aggressive style of defense that Coach Jim Boylen has implemented and in many cases has burned the Bulls. The struggles that the team defense has stemmed from the lack of rotational defense in the corner.
The best example of this is the infamous “Bobby Portis Revenge” game in Madison Square Garden. The video shown above highlights late closeouts and missed assignments leading to three points from Bobby Portis at the end of the game situation.
It happened in Charlotte against the Hornets as well. Rookie PJ Washington had a night against a Bulls team that couldn’t find their matchups and were a victim of a three-point barrage. Former Jayhawk Devonte Graham poured in 24 points as well. The Hornets finished shooting 23-44 from three (52.3%).
Boylen’s Questionable Lineups
The most baffling thing in the Bulls horrific start, however, has been Jim Boylen and his refusal to take on any of the responsibility for his horrific lineups. Three guard lineups consisting of Kris Dunn, Ryan Arcidiacono and rookie Coby White have been underwhelming on the defensive end. Arcidiacono is a nice story but is being pressed into significant minutes in a lineup where Kris Dunn is the tallest of the three guards at 6 foot 3.
Below is Jim Boylen’s response to the Bulls’ slow start to the year.
The response alone is something to warrant an evaluation of Jim Boylen’s fit as coach of this current roster. It’s one thing to ask for more from your players, it’s another thing to question the effort and preparation of your players.
If the Bulls have any hope of righting the ship this season, it’s going to have to start at the top. Jim Boylen has to take accountability for his team’s slide. Given the sample size of Jim Boylen, it may just be a pipe dream.