Boylen tries to find positives in Chicago Bulls' limp to finish
Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen would prefer not to be limping to the finish, but there's not much choice right now.
Zach LaVine (knee), Kris Dunn (back) and Otto Porter Jr. (shoulder) skipped Sunday's practice.
Boylen said Porter is feeling better, but all three guys are likely doubtful for Tuesday in Toronto, the first of back-to-back games. The Bulls have eight games left in the regular season.
Sunday at the Advocate Center, Boylen talked about how he has approached the situation. The Bulls did win two in a row before getting pounded by Utah on Saturday.
"You call on their professionalism. You call on their development as young players about getting better and growing," he said. "We always like guys to fight through adversity, whether it's a nagging injury or whatever.
"Fight through within reason. We don't want anybody to play when they don't feel comfortable. But part of this league is playing when you're not 100 percent. So we're learning some of that and we're playing against good teams."
Some nights, the Bulls take advantage of bench guys getting more opportunity. One example was Shaq Harrison scoring 18 points in last week's win over Washington.
And the Bulls already were short-handed, losing rookie Wendell Carter Jr. to thumb surgery on Jan. 15, Chandler Hutchison on Jan. 25 with a toe injury, along with Denzel Valentine (ankle) for the full season.
"It's amazing to me, even as the coach of the team, you kind of forget how long we haven't had Wendell," Boylen said. "And Denzel hasn't been here all year. He was a 40-percent 3-point shooter last year. Then Hutch, the development he was showing before he got hurt.
"So, yeah, you add those three guys to the mix, it's almost like getting three free agents into your lineup. We would love to have the full complement. We don't. So we're going to take who we have and we're going to keep working at it and play together and honor our principles."
This summer will be a mix of player development and player acquisition, whether it's through the draft, trades or free agency. It's likely some of the young guys the Bulls are trying to develop now won't be around much longer. Sometime soon, they need to add more veterans.
"We'll be very organized this summer on what we're doing," Boylen said. "First we'll set the calendar, we'll meet with our guys on our expectations for what they need to improve on, what we expect. We'll be committed to studying free agency and the draft and developing our young guys.
"The only thing I have on the schedule definitely right now is I'm going to Finland to visit with Lauri when he's over there. That's one thing I'm doing for sure. Everything else will fall into line."
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