Boylen searches for positives beyond W-L record
The Bulls season has traveled the path from over-optimistic playoff expectations to hoping to get mostly healthy for the final stretch.
Before playing Oklahoma City on Tuesday, coach Jim Boylen talked about how meaningful the Bulls' win-loss record is at this point of the season.
"It is a win-loss league, but that's not the only thing that gets evaluated," Boylen said. "Are we establishing a style of play? I think we have. Have we cleaned up our defense that needed to be cleaned up? I think we have. Have we established a shot profile that's top five in the league? I think we're three right now in the shots we get compared to other teams. So those are all positive things."
OK, that got murky right away. How do the Bulls measure shots they get compared to other teams? They'd certainly lose a 3-point contest most nights. The Bulls rank 24th in effective field-goal percentage, according to nba.com.
"Then you can look at the what-ifs, which I don't do very often," Boylen said. "With our shot profile, what would Otto Porter do in that shot profile? He'd be pretty successful. And Lauri Markkanen and right on down the line.
"I'm not worried about my personal record or my win-loss record. I've been asked to establish a style of play, to have a disciplined approach and develop a young group of guys. And in my opinion, we are doing that."
Boylen said it would be surprising if Bulls management came to him at the end of the season and said, "You didn't win enough games."
"Nobody in this organization said to me, 'You got to win this many games,'" he said. "That doesn't mean we don't want to win. It doesn't mean we're not trying to win, but nobody said that to me. I have to honor the organization with trying to do this thing the right way. If we do that and if we can get healthy, I feel good about it."
Healthiness on hold:
Speaking of getting healthy, the Bulls used the same short-handed lineup for the third straight game Tuesday, with Ryan Arcidiacono and rookie Daniel Gafford starting.
The Bulls were hoping to get some people back by the end of the month. That might still be possible with three days off before visiting New York on Saturday. Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle), Otto Porter (foot) and Denzel Valentine (hamstring) are candidates to return soon.
"I'm anxiously optimistic about tomorrow having a practice and Thursday having practice," coach Jim Boylen said. "Maybe Friday I'll have some better news for you."
Thunder trending up:
Oklahoma City's rebuild is going well. After losing all-stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George in a sudden lightning strike last summer, the Thunder are climbing in the West behind three guys they got back in those trades -- Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
"To those guys' credit ... they've done a really great job of building a chemistry and a bond in a very short period of time," OKC coach Billy Donovan said before the game. "I was very optimistic going into the year. Obviously, Chris Paul's been an elite player for a long, long time. So has Gallinari. I'd heard nothing but great things about Shai coming in. So I was really optimistic."