NBA Notebook: Boylan bringing 'swag' back to Milwaukee


NBA Notebook: Boylan bringing 'swag' back to Milwaukee

Boylan bringing "swag" back

Milwaukee is now 2-0 under interim head coach Jim Boylan, a former Bulls assistant, who replaced ex-Bulls head coach Scott Skiles during the 2007-08 season, just as he did for the Bucks this week.

Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings, who scored a game-high 35 points, talked about Milwaukees recent coaching change.

At first, it was tough for me, just the fact that Skiles was my coach my first four years in the league, he said. Of course, Boylans been here for the four years, too. But I know the first night, when we first had him, it was a little different looking on the sideline and Skiles wasnt there. But Coach Boylan, hes been here for four years, weve worked together in the summertime, so he knows my game and I know what to expect from him.

Continued Jennings: I felt like I can do what I want. Ive got my swagger now. I can clown around, dance, do what I want. I might end up changing my hair back again. I think just overall, the confidence that the team has. Everybodys playing with confidence. Guys are just playing free. Were not really thinking right now; were just hooping.

Block Party

Bucks center Larry Sanders, the leagues leading shot-blocker, rejected seven Bulls shots on the evening, part of Milwaukees 15 total swats.

Boylan said about the third-year big man: Larrys presence around the basket is intimidating. Guys go in there and theyre looking for him.

After an uneven first two seasons, Sanders, who previously played power forward and initially appears undersized for his current position, seems to have found his niche as a defensive-minded energy player with an emerging offensive game.

Robinson reflects on Payton

While discussing the possibility of his hometown, Seattle, again getting an NBA franchise, Bulls backup point guard Nate Robinson was asked about reports that Sonics legend Gary Payton was nominated for the 2013 Basketball Hall of Fame class.

He should have been nominated. Him and Shawn Kemp, together, Robinson said. Theyre one player, together.

Robinson also reminisced about the Sonics loss to the Bulls in the 1996 NBA Finals.

At the same time I was sad, I was happy because I was a Michael Jordan fan. But to see my city in the championship, it was awesome. The city was going bonkers, he recounted. They gave them a run for their money. But Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, the guys here, they were rolling.

Jimmy Butler may have gotten uninvited to the Wade's BBQ again


Jimmy Butler may have gotten uninvited to the Wade's BBQ again

Jimmy Butler is in hot water with the Wades ... again.

Maybe not really, but the two former Bulls teammates exchanged pleasantries on Instagram after Butler commented on a photo Dwyane Wade's wife Gabrielle Union posted poolside, saying: "WELL DAMN!!"

Wade, a three-time all-defensive second team, came to his wife's defense when Butler posted a video the next day with the caption: "The good, the bad, and the ugly...", prompting Wade to respond: "Put well damn in caps on my wife photo again and you're gonna see what the good, the bad and the ugly is like."

*Mic drop*

It appears this won't affect Butler getting an invite to the next get together. Or so he hopes...

"Well that escalated quickly," Butler responded to Wade. "Point noted.. I'm still coming to the bbq tho 😂😂😂"

SI names Lauri Markkanen a top-five candidate for a breakout season

SI names Lauri Markkanen a top-five candidate for a breakout season

Lauri Markkanen has been making headlines this offseason, mostly for bulking up considerably, and making appearances around Chicago at Nike camps and Jabari Parker’s camp, but as the season nears, his on-the-court exploits are starting to come up as well. On Thursday, Sports Illustrated put Lauri Markkanen on their list of five breakout candidates for the 2018-19 season

SI writer Michael Shapiro had this to say about Markkanen:

Markkanen has all the tools to be a future All-Star, and it looks as though he has the mindset, too. He seemed to take his matchup with Porzingis personally in early January, demanding the ball down the stretch en route to a career-high 33 points in a road victory. The Bulls enter 2018-19 on the outside of the East playoff picture, but Chicago is now home to the NBA’s newest unicorn.

High praise indeed for Markkanen, and well-deserved praise considering that he finished with a usage rate lower with the Bulls than his college stint at Arizona, yet still was able to have an impact on the Bulls. Shapiro mentioned Markkanen’s burgeoning off-the-dribble game as the skill that most stood out, and speaks to the Finnish big man’s All-Star potential. 

While the 21-year-old’s threes lived up to the hype, it was his prowess of the bounce that made the biggest impression. Markkanen showed a deft handle and array of canny fakes in the post, adding a mean streak to boot. The Finnisher lived up to his nickname, unafraid of contact and eager to fight for position in the post. The stereotype of the soft European big man doesn’t apply here.

The numbers back this up. 

Among the Bulls top 10 players in drives per game last season, Markkanen finished second in field percentage (on drives) at 46.1 percent. If that numbers rises, or more likely, Markkanen drives to the basket more, his scoring total will increase. And when it came to finishing around the paint in general, he shot  67.6 percent on shots from zero-to-three feet, making him the third best in that range out of the Bulls top nine rotation players last season. Yet among the same group of players, Markkanen ranked sixth in shot attempts from zero-to-three feet. With the presence of Wendell Carter Jr., and another year of internal growth from Bobby Portis- bigs that can stretch the floor -Markkanen should be the recipient of more plays putting him in a position to score around the basket.

On a roster that will surely give big minutes to Parker, Kris Dunn, Carter, Chandler Hutchison and a working-his-way-back to form Zach LaVine, Markkanen may be surest 3-point shooter on the floor. This means defenses will key in on his outside shot. If players are routinely closing out hard on Markkanen- as they should -this will open up more driving opportunities for the nimble seven-footer. 

The third or fourth season is usually when young players take the leap from good to great, but Markkanen will be playing with the most talented group of teammates he has ever been surrounded with. How he handles playing with this group will go a long way towards establishing what kind of player he will be in the future, specifically if he is an All-Star caliber talent. On the 2018-19 Bulls, someone will have to hover around a 20 percent usage rate, making them a clear third-option, whoever that player is, his last name should not be Markkanen.