The long-anticipated wait to hear who the next Bulls head coach would be, came to an end yesterday. Billy Donovan was announced as the Bull’s new head coach. Donovan and OKC deciding to part ways came as a bit of a shock. A proven head coach becoming available in the midst of the Bulls coaching search was too good to be true.
If history told us anything, the Bulls weren’t going to go for Donovan. However, this is a new era for this Bulls franchise. Arturas Karnisovas is determined to make the Bulls a winning franchise and it appears the Reinsdorf’s are backing him. So here we are, the Bulls now have Billy Donovan as their head coach and he’s a proven winner.
Why Billy Donovan?
It’s clear. The man has a 60.8 winning percentage as an NBA head coach. He’s a winner.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) September 22, 2020
The reason that the Bulls got the coaching hire right this time has to do with Donovan’s resume. Let’s take a quick look at Donovan’s coaching highlights
Billy Donovan coached Durant, Westbrook, PG, Paul, Beal, and Noah.
Billy Donovan has made the playoffs each season in the NBA.
Billy Donovan has a 60.8 W/L% in the NBA and had a 70.9 W/L% in the NCAA.
Billy Donovan was the NBCA COY.
Billy Donovan is an outstanding hire.
— Elias Schuster (@Schuster_Elias) September 22, 2020
Let’s start with Donovan’s college coaching career. From 1994-2015 Billy Donovan was a head coach at Marshall and Florida. In that time he coached two NCAA Championship winning teams, six SEC regular-season winning teams, and four SEC tournament-winning teams. He proved that in his college career he could create winning teams by creating a winning culture. Even if we look back to the beginning of his head coaching career he was still at the top of his game. In 1995 he won the SoCon Coach of the Year. After a very successful college career, he got his chance in the NBA in 2015.
Donovan’s NBA Head Coaching Career So Far
In 2015 Donovan came in as the head coach for the OKC Thunder. At that time the team featured the dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. He came in and brought that team to the Western Conference Finals. In case you forgot how that ended the Warriors came back down 3-1 and KD left the team in the offseason. Though they lost KD they still made the playoffs the next year. After a 1st round exit, the team added Paul George in the offseason. The next two seasons they followed the same path with 1st round playoff exits. After that, the group broke up and George was traded to the clippers, and Westbrook was sent to the Rockets.
Coming into this past season the Thunder wasn’t expected to do much. The playoffs seemed out of the picture and the thought was the team would tank. However, the Thunder found themselves in the playoffs upon the restart of the season. While they lost in the 1st round it was still surprising that the team made it. Not only did they make it but they took the Rockets to 7 games. This was an impressive feat for a team that no one believed in.
Why Does He Fit For The Bulls?
Billy Donovan has 20 years of coaching experience with college players and has proven that he knows how to unlock young players’ full potential. On top of his college coaching experience, he has proven he can be successful in his five years in the NBA. The Bulls have the second-youngest roster in the NBA and are in the third year of their rebuild. This team isn’t far away from the playoffs and Donovan is the perfect coach to lead them there. Donovan showed in his final year with OKC that he can unlock the potential of young players and find rotations that help everyone on the floor get better.
The team is made up of young guys and need a veteran presence or a bigger named free agent. The Bulls stocked up on the firepower to bring in free agents.
You walk into a room to recruit a free agent w/ Arturas Karnisovas, Marc Eversley, and Billy Donovan.
The #Bulls are back!
Got worried when it took a while, but AK quietly fired Boylen and quietly hired Donovan. Nothing leaked.
I haven't said it in a while, but good job Bulls!
— Silvy (@WaddleandSilvy) September 22, 2020
The Bulls proved with this hire that they are ready to bring the Bulls back to greatness. They have started the process of creating a winning culture. If the players are happier they are going to encourage other free agents to come to the team. With the backing of management, players are going to want to do what they can to better the team. It’s a complete morale swing for this franchise. The Bulls have options when it comes to what to do going into next season. With the 4th pick in the draft they can trade it and other players for a big name player. The other choice would be to draft a player and keep working on the Bulls core for the years to come.
Obviously we won’t know for sure if this was the right move by the Bulls until the season begins. As it sits right now this looks like the right move. Bulls management is ready to do what it takes to make the Bulls contenders again. The Bulls appear to have finally got this coaching thing right.