‘Captain, my captain’ — Bulls make team captains official
Otto Porter Jr. and Thaddeus Young were voted captains by the players Tuesday, and just in case people thought the leadership committee was going away ... it’s back!
CHARLOTTE — This Bulls team was put together to elevate Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen to stardom. But that doesn’t mean either of the twin pillars has earned the title of captain. Not yet, at least.
Coach Jim Boylen announced Wednesday that his players voted Thaddeus Young and Otto Porter captains for the 2019-20 season.
The vote wasn’t a slap in the face to LaVine and Markkanen; it can be viewed more as motivation.
Either way, Boylen made it clear that the title of captain means something to him and should mean something to the team.
“Captains are very important to me in my career,’’ Boylen said. “I’ve always thought it’s big for the leadership of your team. I’m thrilled with the two players that the team voted on having as our captains. We wanted training camp to go by. We wanted everybody to get a chance to be together and see how people operate. And so we voted on it [Tuesday].’’
Boylen wasn’t the least bit surprised by the selections.
“[Young and Porter] demonstrated an ability to put the team above themselves and the ability to communicate with their teammates in a positive way,’’ Boylen said. ‘‘I haven’t felt they’re worried about getting liked. They’re worried about getting it right. Something we talk about here is leadership over liker-ship. And I think they have a great feel of that.’’
Porter was honored to be given the title but seemed much more excited about Young wearing the “C.’’
“Yeah, that’s why we got [Young],’’ Porter said. “He’s that older veteran that’s been there and done it multiple times. Guys can look at that for inspiration. Guys want to be a professional like him, be in the league a long time like him.’’
Coincidentally, the naming of the captains will also lead to a regathering of the leadership committee. That group of players became big news last season, when the committee was formed in the wake of Boylen’s takeover from Fred Hoiberg.
It was created as a buffer between Boylen and the players, and, Boylen said, it’s still an important aspect of the team.
“The leadership group has not disintegrated,’’ Boylen said. “It’ll be structured with the help of the captains. I felt the captains were the first step to that.’’
Coby White made his NBA regular-season debut against the Hornets in North Carolina, where he grew up and played college basketball.
Of course, it meant something to the former Tar Heel.
“It’s just a blessing for me, super-blessed to have my first game in my home state means a lot, but you just try to go out there and start the season in the right direction,’’ White said.
Reserve forward Chandler Hutchison (hamstring) was with the team on this road trip and continued to make progress, but Boylen admitted that the second-year player has lost a lot of practice time since suffering the injury in September.
“I’m concerned about it,’’ Boylen said. “My coaches do a heck of a job of keeping people ready with video and walk-throughs, and we have early script and all that stuff. He’s going to have to just dive into that when we get the green light that he’s full-go. We’ll get him back to speed.
“Working has never been a problem for him.’’