Ready or not, Year 3 of the Bulls’ rebuild is set to debut in Charlotte

Coach Jim Boylen wasn’t talking X’s and O’s on the eve of the Bulls’ season opener, but that doesn’t mean his expectations aren’t high.

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“I’ve seen a group of guys that want to do the right things,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. “It’s a high-character group, it’s a willing group.”

“I’ve seen a group of guys that want to do the right things,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. “It’s a high-character group, it’s a willing group. Our care factor is high and I expect for us to care for each other [Wednesday], play for each other, sacrifice for each other.”

Michael Conroy/AP

Bulls coach Jim Boylen kept his last news conference of the preseason simple.

He offered no predictions about victory totals or a trip to the playoffs. He didn’t even provide a priority list of what he wants to see from his team Wednesday in Charlotte, North Carolina, when the games start counting.

Well, at least nothing tangible.

Instead, Boylen sounded more like a therapist than a guy focused on what the 2019-20 Bulls will bring to the court.

‘‘Care for each other,’’ Boylen said when he was asked what the Bulls can do. ‘‘Care for each other and support each other. That’s what I’ve seen. I’ve seen a group of guys that want to do the right things. It’s a high-character group; it’s a willing group. Our care factor is high, and I expect for us to care for each other [Wednesday], play for each other, sacrifice for each other. I think we’ll do that well.’’

This will be the third season of the Bulls’ rebuild, and there have been many more low points than highlights. Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman think they finally have the talent to compete for a top-eight spot in the Eastern Conference, and they undoubtedly think they have the right coach in place to lead them.

Despite his 17-41 record after taking over for Fred Hoiberg last season, the Bulls gave Boylen a three-year contract extension last spring. They also gave him some say in personnel decisions, providing him with the tougher players he wanted.

On Wednesday, the product will be rolled out in the season opener against the Hornets.

‘‘Obviously, we’ve got seven new guys since last year, so it took some time to get adjusted to, get to know their personality and hang out with them,’’ big man Lauri Markkanen said. ‘‘That’s the biggest thing we’ve learned. You learn your personnel and move along.’’

The Bulls will have little choice but to stay on the move, especially with four of their first five games and six of their first nine on the road. The good news is that the first four road games are more than winnable, featuring the Hornets, Grizzlies, Knicks and Cavaliers. That’s four games there for the taking for a team looking to climb to the next level.

‘‘Yeah, that’s what we’re trying to do — start off strong,’’ Markkanen said. ‘‘That sets the pace for the rest of the year, so we’re going one game at a time, but it’s really important for us to get these.’’

Boylen agreed it’s important for the Bulls to get off to a quick start, but he was more focused on the finished product rather than on what it looks like at the beginning.

‘‘What I don’t do is, I don’t always evaluate whether we’ve won or lost; I evaluate how we played,’’ Boylen said. ‘‘And then the next day we’ll work on the things we didn’t do well, and hopefully we can grow as a group. So that’s what I’ll worry about.

‘‘I’m excited for them. I’m pumped up because, just like them, I like to compete. That’s why we do this. So I’m ready.’’

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