It’s hardly a secret that some Chicago Bulls players aren’t thrilled having Jim Boylen as their head coach. They feel he doesn’t quite grasp how to manage a lineup, lacks a proper sense of strategy in-game, and isn’t exactly a people person either. Perhaps the guy who has the biggest ax to grind with him is promising, young forward Lauri Markkanen who watched his upward trend from the 2018-2019 season suddenly hit a ceiling this year.
Rumors out of the team facility are that the 23-year old is not happy with how he’s being used on the floor. Both offensively and defensively. This has led to him getting more and more discouraging. Some even think he might welcome a change of scenery on another team. A lot of fans would welcome that too, tired of his underachievement during this past season.
For the first time, Markkanen actually spoke up specifically about what bothers him with Boylen during Finnish podcast Urheilucast. It centers around Boylen’s decision to drastically lower his touches on offense.
“I had 80 touches per game the past two seasons, this season the touches dropped to 40. Don’t get me wrong, I had some plays drawn with me in mind, but it’s just different. When I spoke with Jim [Boylen], we talked about how I should concentrate on getting rebounds and then leading the fast break. But it’s just really hard getting 40 defensive rebounds.”
Lauri Markkanen wasn’t drafted to play for Jim Boylen
It’s important to remember that Markkanen wasn’t drafted to play in Boylen’s system. He was meant to work in the scheme drawn up by his predecessor, Fred Hoiberg. It’s not a coincidence the Finnish star played a lot better in those conditions. He’s scored 4.0 fewer points and has the worst 3-point shooting percentage (.344) of his career to this point. Ironically he also was averaging a career-low in total rebounds per game (6.3) prior to the league suspending operations.
The worst crime a head coach can make is not utilizing his most talented players to their biggest strengths. Taking the ball out of Markkanen’s hands was never a good decision and the results speak for themselves. It is why so many fans are praying for logic to prevail and the Bulls finally end the Boylen experiment before he does even more damage. Rumors are it is starting to lean that way as VP Arturas Karnisovas and GM Mark Eversley continue their evaluations.
It’s not too late for Markkanen to realize his vast potential. All he needs is the right environment.