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Bulls coach Jim Boylen: ‘I’m really disappointed in our conditioning. That’s going to change’

Chicago Bulls v Indiana Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 04: Jim Boylen the head coach of the Chicago Bulls gives instructions to his team against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 4, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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The Bulls named Jim Boylen head coach.

He’s wasting no time taking charge.

Chicago lost Boylen’s debut against the Pacers on Tuesday, getting outscored by eight points in the second half of the six-point defeat.

Boylen, via Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald:
“I’m really disappointed in our conditioning. That’s going to change.”

Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago:

Head coach Jim Boylen ran a second straight two-plus hour practice on Wednesday - including a film session before - that he said included suicide sprints and other conditioning drills the day after the Bulls’ 96-90 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

“We’re old-school, we get on the line. Then we have certain drills we do within the line for that. But there’s no short-cut to conditioning. There’s no short cut to getting in shape,” he said. “People think there is I think sometimes, or you can do this or you can do that. The only way you get in shape in this game is to get on the floor and do it. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to do it every day.”

What an indictment of Fred Hoiberg, whom Chicago fired this week. Hoiberg reportedly lost control of the team, and lazy conditioning is one way that’d show up.

Unfortunately for the Bulls, conditioning can be difficult to improve while playing games through the regular season. Players might need to get in better shape. They also must rest and recover and prepare for games every couple days.

Fortunately for Chicago, competing in the regular season probably isn’t a priority anymore. The Bulls are 5-20, tied for NBA’s second-worst record. They should have an eye on maximizing their draft pick.

Along the way, Boylen should instill good habits, including better conditioning. If that leaves Chicago less-prepared for games in the short-term, maybe that’s even for the best.

But Boylen – whom the Bulls say they plan to keep as coach next season – must also be careful not to alienate his players. Maybe he should be tougher on them than Hoiberg was, and given the jolt of a coaching change, they’ll likely respond for now. But being overly demanding won’t work forever. There must be other gears.