That mark equates to a .319 winning percentage, which is the second-worst of any coach in franchise history. It’s also a figure that Boylen doesn’t judge himself by.
“It is a win-loss league, but that’s not the only thing that gets evaluated,” Boylen said before the Bulls hosted the Thunder on Tuesday evening. “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.”
Boylen offered his comments as the Bulls have struggled in a 20-38 season that began with management and Boylen himself proclaiming at the outset of training camp that earning a playoff berth was their goal. That’s a long-lost hope with the Bulls trailing the eighth-seeded Magic by 5.5 games, and if it seems difficult to reconcile the moving of the goal posts in comments then and now, Boylen did remind that his team has been plagued by injuries.
“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. Case in point – Coby White’s improvement, Daniel Gafford’s improvement. Cris Felicio, I think, is doing a heckuva job for us. So play the guys you have and hopefully make them better.”
Is the poor win-loss record difficult for Boylen to digest?
“It is hard for me,” Boylen said. “But that’s not my calling. That’s not what they ask me to do. Nobody in this organization said to me, ‘You got to win this many games.’ Nobody said to me, ‘Hey, we’re going to talk about wins and losses all year.’ Not one time have they said that to me. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to win. It doesn’t mean we aren’t 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.”
Front office change is looming for the Bulls, who for weeks have been laying the groundwork for a new executive to be their public face, according to reports. It’s unclear if executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson would retain final say in basketball operations.
Either way, Boylen believes in his approach. He was asked if he’d be bothered and surprised if the Bulls used his win-loss mark against him at season’s end.
"Yes, it would,” Boylen said. “I don’t foresee that happening."