Coach Jim Boylen realizes Bulls fans are upset, but he’ll stick to his plan

Of course, Boylen saw all the red seats at the United Center on Friday night — everyone in attendance did. But he continues to block out the outside noise, believing in what he’s doing, no matter the record.

SHARE Coach Jim Boylen realizes Bulls fans are upset, but he’ll stick to his plan

CLEVELAND — Coach Jim Boylen is cognizant of the growing disdain for the Bulls among the fan base in the third year of the rebuild.

And even if he were that oblivious, all of the empty red seats at the United Center during the loss Friday night to the Kings provided a big hint.

Boylen, however, has been able to keep the noise from seeping into the locker room. Or at least he has done his best to keep the focus elsewhere.

“The fans have been great to me,’’ Boylen said Saturday.

“For the most part, they understand what we’re trying to do. There’s always going to be people that don’t like where it’s at or where it’s going. I can’t control any of that.

‘‘All I can control is my attitude, my work, my connection to this team. That’s what I’m going to try to do.’’

Deflecting attention from the standings or his record as coach is a wise move.

Since taking over for Fred Hoiberg last December, Boylen has gone 35-71.

Have there been injuries? Yes. Has he had to remake the culture, as well as establish an identity on the fly? Absolutely.

No one denies that.

But in a pass-fail business, wins and losses are what go on the résumé. And all the losses have the fan base questioning the direction of the team and Boylen as the director.

“We have the best fans in the world; we have the best fans in the league,’’ Boylen said. “Are they frustrated, do they get frustrated at times? Of course. That’s OK. I think that’s why they’re the greatest fans because they care.

“We’ll keep working at this.’’

Boylen is clinging to the idea that a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs is still there for the taking.

The Bulls are an injured group right now, but if they can start getting some of those bodies back and stay mathematically within range of the Magic and Nets, he’ll roll the dice.

“We’ve got kind of a next-man-up mentality,’’ Boylen said. “We’ve got some young guys playing.

‘‘This gives us an opportunity to build even more depth, and hopefully around the break or after the break, we can get back to full strength and get after this thing. We’re within striking distance. We’ve got to stay there, and hopefully we can do that and fight our way through.’’

Rookie plans

The Bulls are without a true second scorer now that Lauri Markkanen is sidelined for the next four to six weeks, so Boylen was asked about trying to unleash streaky shooter Coby White for more minutes.

If White gets hot, Boylen said he’ll ride him like he has in certain games. But the idea of force-feeding the No. 7 overall pick from the 2019 NBA Draft more minutes isn’t in the cards. Instead, it’s about his development and having him play both guard spots.

“His plan won’t change much,’’ Boylen said. “He plays a different position than Markkanen. We’ll get Coby involved and keep developing him as a guard that can lead the team but also score. We’ll keep pushing him to be a two-way player, which I think is really important for him.’’

The Latest
Officers responding to a call in the 2300 block of North Laramie Avenue about 7:02 p.m. Monday swerved to avoid hitting two people on a scooter. The squad car struck struck a parked car and caught fire.
Blue Demons can go all sorts of ways with successor for Stubblefield, but one coach stands out most
One person was killed and three others wounded in a shooting Monday in the 7100 block of South State Street, police said. The gunman was wounded and taken into custody. A second shooter is at large.
Last week, several people made antisemitic comments during the public comments portion of a City Council meeting. The speakers are affiliated with the Goyim Defense League, which the Anti-Defamation League calls a white supremacist hate group.
Whereas the Rams (27-7) looked a step slow and overwhelmed, the Broncos (29-7) were ferocious and took Monday’s 44-25 Class 3A super-sectionals game against the Rams to advance to the Illinois state semifinals in Bloomington-Normal.