Boylen's "Court of Dreams" will be difficult to create
It's been a rough start for the Bulls, so might as well have a sense of humor about it.
After a competitive 107-103 loss in Portland late Friday night, Bulls coach Jim Boylen dutifully put a positive spin on the proceedings.
"We need to keep playing the way we're playing, which is hard and together," Boylen told reporters after the game. "The wins will come. Wins are always good, but we're building this thing, we've got the blocks being laid. I like our effort tonight, I like our togetherness and I like our competitiveness."
Asked what makes him think the wins will come, Boylen replied with light sarcasm: "If you build it, they will come. Have you seen that movie?"
Boylen knows the reality of the Bulls' situation. They're sending a bunch of young guys on the floor who have never experienced winning in the NBA.
That's a formula that has never been successful in the history of the league, yet people are out here asking why the Bulls can't win. Boylen's "Court of Dreams" would surely include some veteran guidance.
Maybe Boylen shouldn't have talked about the Bulls being a playoff team before the season, but it's too late to backtrack on that one. The Bulls fit the profile of a 6-14 squad right now.
The solution is simple. If the Bulls want to build around Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., that's fine. But there needs to be experienced players at point guard and small forward.
The Bulls tried to do that, sort of, but unfortunately put 55 million eggs in the Otto Porter basket. They've looked like a decent team when he's been on the floor and played well. But Porter has been on the roster for 48 games and played in 24. He's played well in fewer than that. And the Bulls are committed to paying him $27 and $28 million through next season.
Bulls vice president John Paxson gave a preview of what was in store when he talked about the summer of 2021 being important in free-agency. That's when the contracts of Porter and Cristiano Felicio expire.
In the meantime, the best thing the Bulls can do right now is somewhere, somehow, find some veteran help.
There's no point in waiting on Chandler Hutchison to develop, but it's not like he's sought-after trade bait. It's going to be tough to retool the roster in the middle of the season.
The Portland game did bring a few encouraging signs. LaVine scored 28 points and over his last four games, has averaged 32.8 points and shot 55 percent from 3-point range.
They found a way to get Markkanen going a little bit. He was scoreless in the first half and finished with 13 points. Maybe Boylen should stagger some of LaVine and Markkanen's playing time, giving Markkanen some minutes as the go-to guy with Tomas Satoransky out there to get him the ball.
Rebounding remains a problem and the overall roster lacks physical presence. The Bulls need to find Carter some help underneath, but no one in the starting lineup has seemed willing to mix it up on the glass consistently.
In the final minute against Portland, the Bulls needed a stop down by two. Kris Dunn and Carter combined to force a missed shot from Damian Lillard. But once Carter went to give help, there was no one for the rebound and Hassan Whiteside got an easy tip-in for the clinching basket while Satoransky, Markkanen and LaVine didn't do anything to stop him.
Dunn started Friday for the first time this season with Hutchison sidelined by a right shoulder contusion.
"It's a long season. How many games have we played so far?" Dunn asked, before being told 20. "That's first quarter. We've still got three more quarters left. It could change like that. We're definitely in a drought and we've got to get out of it. The only way you do that is by keep balling hard."