Mutiny in Chicago

Mutiny in Chicago

Chicago is in turmoil. Again. The Thibs experience is repeating itself, this time with the new coach Jim Boylen at the helm. This is becoming a fascinating experiment in the new-era NBA. The era of rest and player empowerment meeting an old-school coach.

One of the main criticisms coming out of Chicago after Hoiberg was fired were directed at his easy-going attitude. The thing is, that’s what the Bulls were looking for after Thibs. A coach that won’t go too far with minutes and workouts, a coach who will implement a modern offense. Then, they repeatedly signed players he can’t do that with. 

So logically, they fired him and brought back Thibs 2.0. Since his appointment as head coach, Boylen had the players go through a two-plus hour training session more than once. They had a shootaround for more than 90 minutes. He even had the players go through film immediately after a  loss in Indiana. This is all out of character for your average NBA team and even more so for a Hoiberg team.

On top of that, he publicly called out his player on lack of toughness and effort several times, saying that a lot of the training sessions were focused on conditioning. Newsflash, NBA players don’t do suicides during the season…except if they are playing for the Bulls obviously. 

All this culminated this weekend, as we know from reporting by Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, when the players had a group text in which they discussed not showing up for practice this Sunday. The idea was for everyone to meet a ta players house and be together when the phones start to ring. 

Markannen and Lopez objected and in the end, they showed up at the practice facility but instead of practicing, they had a players-only meeting followed by a meeting with the coaching staff. 

If we are to believe the statements from the players and coach Boylen, this was a very productive meeting and everyone is happy with how it went. Yes, there is a but. Coach Boylen was quite adamant he will not change his style and principles when it comes to practice or substitution routines (he subbed all five starters at once a few times already, a move used to put shame on the players and their effort). The only thing he did give some concession to is not being so vocal in criticizing his players publicly. 

Call me crazy, but I suspect this isn’t the last time we are getting a report like this from Chicago.