Panic, meet button. I never expected to be this worried so early in the season about the Bulls' playoff chances (after the Lakers and Pacers). This succession of losses to mediocre teams has been brutal. I'm sure this is not what Coach Boylen expected. Imagine his concern rises to the level that he turns to you (yes, I know that's not going to happen, but project this happening in a Bulls multiverse where coaches consult journalists for advice). So in this alternative universe, Boylen says, "What should I do to fix this? How should I fine-tune our system of play? Is the system flawed? Should I change the starting lineup? Should I alter the bench rotation? Should I go full-on Joe Maddon and bring in a magician to do tricks and relax the players?" What would you say?
I'd say, ‘Jim, I didn't know you knew my name.' Of course, then I'd offer some ideas as I did to Thibs and Skiles without much success. So I continued to write them down. Another of the many reasons we love this game compared to say baseball or football is because there are so many more opportunities to criticize the players and coaches because there are so many more decisions to make in basketball with so many more plays.
For the Bulls, I'd go back to pecking order. All the great teams have them. There are exceptions, like the Celtics in the 60s and Knicks in the 70s with a relatively diverse group of similar talents. Though with the Knicks, for example, while Bradley and DeBusschere might make big shots, Reed or Frazier were taking that last shot. OK, say we move up 50 years to the rest of my audience. Klay Thompson might save a game here and there, but Durant had the ball when they needed to make a late shot. That Curry guy, too.
The Bulls have had issues in the fourth quarter, though it's early and we still get to say that for another few weeks. One reason is there hasn't been enough of a delineation and identification of whose turn that is. I'd say LaVine. Whatever the criticisms, he can make a play inside and outside on his own, something no one else on the team really can do with regularity. I'd get him more shots so that when the time comes everyone's more accustomed. I know in theory it sounds great and is more confusing for the defense if they have to defend four or five players. But just because you might get open at that time, not everyone is as comfortable at that time. Critics say that makes you more predictable and the defense can anticipate it. I say it puts the ball in the possession of the person who is most accomplished at those times. And the more LaVine is in that position, the more officials will notice and he'll start to get those foul calls. Unfortunately, I blocked Boylen on this site because he's been giving me hair grooming advice.