It’s safe to say that the Chicago Bulls are currently in a bit of a tailspin. Since Jim Boylen became the head coach of the team, there has been consistent reports that his coaching philosophies have rubbed the players the wrong way. Grueling practices and poor communication nearly led to the players boycotting Sunday’s practice after a 56-point loss to the Boston Celtics. In addition to this, a players-only meeting, that was highly publicized to include discussions of the players not wanting to be involved with this new regime, was held.
After the meeting, many players on the team felt a weight was lifted off their shoulders and they felt good about the current situation. Then, the next night, the team blew an 11-point lead at the half to the Sacramento Kings to fall to 6-22. The team was outscored 63-33 in the second half and they showed little effort.
None of this is good for the players, coaches, or the organization. What could have been a great opportunity for the team to rally around a new coach and begin to climb up the Eastern Conference standings, has now become a mess of a situation.
The Bulls’ current roster is littered with young players and lacks an identity. The apparent leaders of the team, Zack Lavine and Justin Holiday, have little experience with winning. Lavine has never been on a winning team in his entire five-year career. Meanwhile, Holiday has been a role player for much of his career and has just in recent year established himself as a solid NBA player. For these two to be the leaders of a franchise in turmoil is asking a lot.
In the coming weeks, the Bulls will be subject to scrutiny in every arena they enter, including their own. The fans and media will not take it easy on them and they will be forced to step up to the hostile situation. One way of doing this is by winning.
The Bulls have been injured for much of the season but have just recently gotten much healthier with the returns of Lauri Markkanen, Bobby Portis, and Kris Dunn. This influx of talent should certainly help the team, but their attitudes and effort will need to change if they expect to start winning games again.