Jim Boylen falls under the Gregg Popovich coaching tree, which is good news for the Bulls

Jim Boylen falls under the Gregg Popovich coaching tree, which is good news for the Bulls

The Bulls officially announced Jim Boylen as the 17th head coach of the team’s franchise on Monday. Boylen has made a number of stops during his basketball career, most recently an assistant under Gregg Popovich before Hoiberg hired him in 2015.

That Boylen, a defensive-minded coach, stems from the Popovich coaching tree is certainly good news for the Bulls. Though it in no way guarantees success, there’s a long line of successful NBA head coaches who at one point in time were under the guidance of Popovich in one form or another.

Mike Budenholzer, head coach, Milwaukee Bucks

One of the longest tenured assistants under Popovich, Budenholzer was on the Spurs’ staff from 1996 to 2013. That summer, he was named the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, where he coached them to a 2013-197 record over five seasons. That included a 60-win campaign in 2015, for which he was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year. He was fired by Atlanta in 2018 but hired by the Milwaukee Bucks that same offseason. He has been outstanding in Year 1 with the Bucks, leading them to a 15-7 record.

Brett Brown, head coach, Philadelphia 76ers

It’s safe to say Brown did a pretty good job as the director of player development in San Antonio from 2002 to 2013. That made him the perfect candidate to take over a Philadelphia 76ers franchise that was rebuilding from the absolute ground up. Despite the ugly, ugly, ugly years in Philadelphia – Brown went 75-253 in his first four seasons – the Sixers knew what kind of a special coach they had in Brown. He’s led Philadelphia into their next phase; after a 52-win season a year ago, the Sixers are 17-8 in Year 6 under Brown.

James Borrego, head coach, Charlotte Hornets

Borrego actually had two stints under Popovich, once as an assistant from 2003 to 2010 and again from 2015 to 2018. This past offseason, he was hired by the Charlotte Hornets. Borrego was thought to be coming to a team that might be in the beginning phases of a rebuild, but he’s taken the Hornets and turned them into a playoff contender; they’re 11-12 and sitting in seventh place in the East.

Joe Prunty, assistant coach, Phoenix Suns

Prunty was an assistant for three of the Spurs’ championships from 1996 to 2005, and he made other stops as an assistant with Dallas, Portland, Cleveland, Brooklyn and Milwaukee. He took over for the fired Jason Kidd last season with the Bucks, going 21-16 down the stretch before losing to the Celtics in seven games of the Eastern Concerence Playoffs’ first round. The Bucks hired Mike Budenholzer this offseason, and Prunty latched on with the Suns this offseason.

Mike Brown, associate head coach, Golden State Warriors

Brown has had one of the wildest coaching rides in NBA history, from coaching on the Spurs’ title teams in the early 2000s to coaching LeBron James to taking over Cleveland again after James left to becoming an NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors. But it was in San Antonio, from 2000 to 2003 under Popovich, where he got his start.


Quin Snyder, head coach, Utah Jazz

Synder was the head coach of the Austin Toros (now the Austin Spurs), San Antonio’s G-League affiliate, from 2007 to 2010.

Earl Watson, former head coach, Phoenix Suns

It was a brief stint, but Watson’s NBA playing days ended with his hiring as an assistant for the Austin Spurs. From there, Watson was named an assistant in Phoenix and ultimately worked his way up to become the head coaching 2015. He lasted just 118 games before being fired early in the 2017-2018 season.

Dell Demps, general manager, New Orleans Pelicans

Maybe a stretch, but Demps played 16 games under Popovich during the 1995-96 season.

Jacque Vaughn, former head coach, Orlando Magic

Vaughn played his last three NBA seasons with the Spurs from 2006 to 2009 before becoming an assistant under Popovich from 2010 to 2012. From there he was hired as the head coach of the Orlando Magic, amassing a 58-158 record in three seasons before being fired. He’s currently an assistant with the Brooklyn Nets.

Steve Kerr, head coach, Golden State Warriors

Kerr was a point guard under Popovich with the Spurs from 1998 to 2001, and again for the 2002-03 season. He’s now doing quite well for himself as head coach of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

Doc Rivers, head coach, LA Clippers

Rivers’ final 138 games in the NBA over two seasons were with the Spurs. He’d of course go on to become an NBA champion coaching the Boston Celtics and currently leads the L.A. Clippers.

Monty Williams, former head coach, New Orleans Pelicans

Williams played with the Spurs from 1996 to 1998. After stops with four other franchises he became an assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers and was then hired in 2010 as the New Orleans Hornets (noe the Pelicans) head coach. He won 173 games in five seasons and is currently an assistant under Brown with the Philadelphia 76ers.

How Sky are approaching WNBA season, from advocacy to unprecedented schedule

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How Sky are approaching WNBA season, from advocacy to unprecedented schedule

The 2020 WNBA season is one like no other. While the league is playing out its truncated, 22-game campaign in a bubbled campus at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla, it’s also dedicating the proceedings to social justice advocacy.

To name a few ways the latter has come to fruition: Players across the W have honored the lives and called for justice for Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland and other victims of police brutality and racial violence with jersey messages, on-court demonstrations and comments to the media. The Sky, specifically, launched a fund to benefit Chicago-based community organizations based on team performance called #SkyTakesAction. There was even a leaguewide thrust to publicly endorse Raphael Warnock, a Democratic challenger for Kelly Loeffler’s Senate seat in Georgia, after Loeffler repeatedly came out in opposition of the W’s social justice initiatives and the Black Lives Matter movement. Everything enacted by the league on this front has been pointed and unified.

Meanwhile, there’s basketball to be played, as well. And the Sky is on the rise. Despite dropping two of its last three contests, the team is off to a 5-3 start to the season, with mammoth victories over the Las Vegas Aces, Los Angeles Sparks and Washington Mystics embedded in. It’s a group with championship aspirations one year after bursting onto the scene under first-year coach James Wade and bolstered by a high-octane, free-flowing style of play; and it returned much of the core of that breakout squad, even as many stars across the W traded threads.

Sky forward Gabby Williams recently joined the Bulls Talk Podcast to discuss all of the above — from her commitment to pushing for change to the high hopes, and strange circumstances, surrounding the team this season.

“Our decision to come to the bubble really was, if we're going to go, fighting for social justice is going to be at the forefront of our season,” Williams said. “That's going to go hand-in-hand with the WNBA.”

And on grinding through a season with games near every other day: “It’s going to be hard on our bodies, it’s going to be hard mentally, it’s going to be hard physically, emotionally, everything, it’s going to be exhausting. So we’re just going to try to keep each other up. It’s going to be gritty, it’s going to be a season that we have to grind out, and it’s not going to be easy for anyone. So we’re just focused on our bodies, and staying healthy and staying together.”

Listen to the full conversation here or via the embedded player above.

Bulls Talk Podcast


Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Sky forward Gabby Williams on WNBA Wubble and social change

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Bulls Talk Podcast: Sky forward Gabby Williams on WNBA Wubble and social change

The Chicago Sky are dominating in the Wubble on the court, but also are doing some great things off the court as well. NBC Sports Chicago Bulls and hoops writer Rob Schaefer is joined by Sky forward Gabby Williams to discuss everything that's going on in the WNBA's Wubble as they get through their season and the many social justice initiatives the league and the Sky are pushing to help promote social change.

(2:20) - Difficulties of starting the WNBA season when so much has gone on in the world

(7:10) - The Sky are trying to motivate people and other athletes to push for social change in Chicago

(11:55) - The Sky have championship aspirations

(15:40) - Keeping the pressure on people to continue to promote change

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Talk Podcast


Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.