Sunday, Boylen apparently bothered one of his own players with a late timeout.
With Chicago on its way to a 129-102 loss to the Raptors, Boylen called timeout with 1:04 left. Already looking dismayed on the bench, LaVine seemed to snap “Why?” then appear even more bothered.
Boylen, via NBC Sports Chicago:
“I was trying to run something with my second group. I got a G League guy in there [Adam Mokoka], who I haven’t coached much, on an ATO,” Boylen said, using the initials for an after-timeout play. “I don’t stop coaching the team because we’re down. I’ve never done that, never will. I’m going to coach the guys on the floor.
“I wanted to run something with Mokoka in it so he can learn and grow. Put that pressure on him and try to develop. We’re trying to win and develop. And that was a development moment. It’d be different if we were up 20 and called timeout. If I can endure the last minute, the last timeout, and coach my team, I think the other team can too. I gotta worry about us and what we’re going to do and who we have. That’s all I think about.”
I agree with Boylen in theory. That can be a learning opportunity for young players. There’s also something to establishing a culture of valuing every chance to improve. He shouldn’t worry about the other team.
But the Bulls were getting blown out in the final game of a road trip. It was Super Bowl Sunday. At a certain point, it’s better just to put the players who tried but just got overmatched by a better team – like LaVine, who played 33 minutes – out of their misery.
Boylen really ought to think more about whether it’s worth the tradeoff, especially with players who reportedly already dislike him.