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Billy Donovan

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Billy Donovan 

Post#1 » by Stratmaster » Sat Feb 6, 2021 4:20 am

I realized with all the discussion and threads around players I do not see one for Billy.

I was really excited when the Bulls announced they got Donovan as head coach. I can't really say why, other than I knew he had the one great playoff run.

I am interested in hearing your analysis of his performance so far. Please, no "he sucks" or "he's great". What specifically is he doing that you think is positive or negative? What overall grade do you give him so far? Offensive schemes? Defense? Player development? Player assessment? Rotations? in game strategy? Game to game and in-game adjustments? Handling of players? I will withhold my comments until others post. I don't mean this to be my soapbox for my feelings about him. I am truly interested in any assessments.
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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#2 » by HomoSapien » Sat Feb 6, 2021 5:12 am

The good:

1.) The guys who should be playing are playing and the guys who don't deserve minutes aren't playing.

2.) He seems to have shaken the Boylen out of Lauri and Wendell and at least gotten them to play close to their best levels. Same with Thad Young.

3.) He has the team invested in him. I think it's related to his calm demeanor, but you can tell the players are behind him and listening to him.

4.) Offense in general --- we're clearly not struggling to score points.

5.) He seems to have gotten LaVine to play more controlled on offense and has him giving better effort on defense as well. He still has his lapses but it's a step in the right direction.

6.) He's been generous with Patrick Williams' minutes from day one. The second-youngest player in the league has started every game of his career thus far and get a solid 26 minutes a night. Other coaches wouldn't do that.

What could be better:

1.) Quite a few times, he's waited too long to bring Lauri back into 4th quarters of games when he's had a good rhythm going. Most of the time, those long periods on the bench have killed his flow.

2.) He hasn't figured out how to get the most out of Coby White yet. I will give him credit for giving Coby a long leash to just learn on the floor, but Coby has lost confidence and it's pretty noticeable with how he plays.

3.) Although all our young guys are more or less playing better than last year, non have taken a gigantic leap. Not sure if that's Donovan's issue or the players though.

4.) I'm not sure how to really put this into words, but even though Lauri is our 2nd leading scorer, it doesn't really feel like he's our 2nd option. Again, part of this is on the player, but I wish it felt like we had a clear established pecking order on the floor with more concrete plays run for him.
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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#3 » by mtron32 » Sat Feb 6, 2021 5:23 am

HomoSapien wrote:The good:

1.) The guys who should be playing are playing and the guys who don't deserve minutes aren't playing.

2.) He seems to have shaken the Boylen out of Lauri and Wendell and at least gotten them to play close to their best levels. Same with Thad Young.

3.) He has the team invested in him. I think it's related to his calm demeanor, but you can tell the players are behind him and listening to him.

4.) Offense in general --- we're clearly not struggling to score points.

5.) He seems to have gotten LaVine to play more controlled on offense and has him giving better effort on defense as well. He still has his lapses but it's a step in the right direction.

6.) He's been generous with Patrick Williams' minutes from day one. The second-youngest player in the league has started every game of his career thus far and get a solid 26 minutes a night. Other coaches wouldn't do that.

What could be better:

1.) Quite a few times, he's waited too long to bring Lauri back into 4th quarters of games when he's had a good rhythm going. Most of the time, those long periods on the bench have killed his flow.

2.) He hasn't figured out how to get the most out of Coby White yet. I will give him credit for giving Coby a long leash to just learn on the floor, but Coby has lost confidence and it's pretty noticeable with how he plays. s

3.) Although all our young guys are more or less playing better than last year, non has taken a gigantic leap. Not sure if that's Donovan's issue or the players though.

4.) I'm not sure how to really put this into words, but even though Lauri is our 2nd leading scorer, it doesn't really feel like he's our 2nd option. Again, part of this is on the player, but I wish it felt like we had a clear established pecking order on the floor with more concrete plays run for him.


4.) I think it’s all on Lauri, I dont think,he has ever had it to be that dude. His dragstep move is calling pout I don’t want contact. He’s a solid 4th option, thank goodness AK didn’t open that bag...
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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#4 » by Stratmaster » Sat Feb 6, 2021 2:04 pm

I listed a lot of categories so I am going to spilt them over multiple posts.

Overall offensive schemes: The Bulls appear more aggressive pushing the ball than they were even the first few games of this season. He has integrated Lauri and Thad well. Huge improvements over last season.

The Bulls are making teams pay for doubling Zach now. Actually, Zach and Thad specifically are making them pay and that seems to be Billy's coaching.

The Bulls still have droughts during a game. All teams do but some seem purposeful. For example the offensive approach at the beginning of recent games.

The Bulls are best offensively playing with pace. When they have to play half court offense they struggle. That has to be addressed if they want to be a playoff team. The good teams still seem to be able to shut them down when needed.

The point numbers tell me to give an A- grade but I still see more issues than that. I would give a B-

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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#5 » by Hugi Mancura » Sat Feb 6, 2021 2:05 pm

Ball moving offense is what these players needed. These players are not good at playing version of Houston's Harden offense, so lot of the suffered during Boylen era because of that. Ball moving offense does create more turnovers, specially if your players are young. Ability to read the game improves through age and mistakes. Young players don't have age and they haven't done the necessary mistakes. Good defensive team also have the ability to stop this ball movement. Bulls have lost every game where other team have interrupted Bulls ball movement.

He has also given players more freedom in offense, so they can do stuff they believe they are good at. This increases self esteem and that creates more points to the team. Forcing players to do stuff where they are not good enough just because your playbook says this player should do this thing creates more busts than anything else in NBA.

Players does listen to him and believe in him.

Then the negative stuff.
Starting 5 and roster rotation. Honestly don't believe he has make a call on this. I think he has gotten orders from above to start certain players no matter what. But starting 5 is just worst defensive unit Bulls can muster (if we use players who get any decent playing time). There is not a single player who I would count as a mediocre defender in NBA. All have meaningful holes in their game on defensive end. Maybe best example on this is that commonly hated defender Lauri Markkanen has the best defensive rating of all the starters (Coby, Lavine, PWill, Lauri & WCJ) and all 5 are bottom of the Bulls list. Sure they play against other teams starters and that really lowers their number because this unit is not a good starting unit, but they are also not good at defense (every single one of them. One might be a good one later in his career, but as right now he is a kid playing man's game). This is also the reason I think Bulls real goal in this year is not to win as many games as possible, but win as many games as possible while playing youngsters as much as possible. If Bulls would have had different starting 5's in games I think Bulls would have won 2-4 games more than now they have.

Pick & roll defense. There have been enough messages about this all ready, so really no need to go through the details. To be honest switching every screen would work better than this defense. This kind of defense does work, there are proofs of this in NBA even in this season. Because of tight schedule there is not much time to have practices, so team pretty much have to practice while playing games.
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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#6 » by sco » Sat Feb 6, 2021 2:13 pm

The most important thing is that the best player seems to be listening to him. Zach seems bought in. The vets like Thad and Temple are also seemingly supporters.

IMO, the losses are more on injuries to Otto, Lauri and Carter than they are on Billy.
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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#7 » by Jiipee84 » Sat Feb 6, 2021 2:25 pm

I wouldn't throw Billy under the bus yet if that's a head case.
Coach Donovan has done good job and he deserves at least 2 or 3 yrs to show what he's got and what he's made by the coach.
Donovan isn't guilty on all those lost games even if there has been some questionable coaching decisions.

Injuries happen and that belongs to NBA basketball.
But it's up the players to take care of their health and off season practices
so BD can't babysitting any Bulls player 24 / 7 all year long.
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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#8 » by Stratmaster » Sat Feb 6, 2021 2:28 pm

sco wrote:The most important thing is that the best player seems to be listening to him. Zach seems bought in. The vets like Thad and Temple are also seemingly supporters.

IMO, the losses are more on injuries to Otto, Lauri and Carter than they are on Billy.
I agree that he seems to have the buy in of the players.

I read a lot of comments about him getting defensive effort. I can't say I really see that other than in short spurts so I don't necessarily agree with that. However so far it seems the players respect and listen to him and that is definitely the first thing that has to happen for a coach to be successful.

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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#9 » by Stratmaster » Sat Feb 6, 2021 2:41 pm

HomoSapien wrote:The good:

1.) The guys who should be playing are playing and the guys who don't deserve minutes aren't playing.

2.) He seems to have shaken the Boylen out of Lauri and Wendell and at least gotten them to play close to their best levels. Same with Thad Young.

3.) He has the team invested in him. I think it's related to his calm demeanor, but you can tell the players are behind him and listening to him.

4.) Offense in general --- we're clearly not struggling to score points.

5.) He seems to have gotten LaVine to play more controlled on offense and has him giving better effort on defense as well. He still has his lapses but it's a step in the right direction.

6.) He's been generous with Patrick Williams' minutes from day one. The second-youngest player in the league has started every game of his career thus far and get a solid 26 minutes a night. Other coaches wouldn't do that.

What could be better:

1.) Quite a few times, he's waited too long to bring Lauri back into 4th quarters of games when he's had a good rhythm going. Most of the time, those long periods on the bench have killed his flow.

2.) He hasn't figured out how to get the most out of Coby White yet. I will give him credit for giving Coby a long leash to just learn on the floor, but Coby has lost confidence and it's pretty noticeable with how he plays.

3.) Although all our young guys are more or less playing better than last year, non have taken a gigantic leap. Not sure if that's Donovan's issue or the players though.

4.) I'm not sure how to really put this into words, but even though Lauri is our 2nd leading scorer, it doesn't really feel like he's our 2nd option. Again, part of this is on the player, but I wish it felt like we had a clear established pecking order on the floor with more concrete plays run for him.
I agree that players are playing the minutes they should, although on a team so poor in lead guard skills I think Archie could have been used at points where teams have tried to take advantage with pressure. Not big minutes. Just strategic minutes.

I am more concerned with how a few players are being used. Well go into more detail on that in its own post, but you mentioned Coby so will address that a little here.

I don't understand what there is to figure out with Coby. He can't have the ball in his hands as the initiator of the offense for long stretches of time. Billy seems to know this because in q4 he completely abandons the approach. His insistence in doing it for a lengthy period to start games means the Bulls are often starting from a big hole, and this team isn't good enough to overcome that. I thought Lavine was exhausted by the end of last night's game. He had to use so much energy in the 2 comebacks last night and it is just too much to expect regardless of Lavine resting on the court the first 5 minutes of every game.

I generally am not a fan of starting rooks but I agree with the number of minutes PWill is playing and the kid seems to have both the basketball IQ and demeanor to deal with it unlike (IMHO) rookie Coby and rookie Carter so it doesn't concern me like it did to start the season. Injuries and Covid helped force that issue as well.

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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#10 » by Stratmaster » Sat Feb 6, 2021 2:49 pm

Hugi Mancura wrote:Ball moving offense is what these players needed. These players are not good at playing version of Houston's Harden offense, so lot of the suffered during Boylen era because of that. Ball moving offense does create more turnovers, specially if your players are young. Ability to read the game improves through age and mistakes. Young players don't have age and they haven't done the necessary mistakes. Good defensive team also have the ability to stop this ball movement. Bulls have lost every game where other team have interrupted Bulls ball movement.

He has also given players more freedom in offense, so they can do stuff they believe they are good at. This increases self esteem and that creates more points to the team. Forcing players to do stuff where they are not good enough just because your playbook says this player should do this thing creates more busts than anything else in NBA.

Players does listen to him and believe in him.

Then the negative stuff.
Starting 5 and roster rotation. Honestly don't believe he has make a call on this. I think he has gotten orders from above to start certain players no matter what. But starting 5 is just worst defensive unit Bulls can muster (if we use players who get any decent playing time). There is not a single player who I would count as a mediocre defender in NBA. All have meaningful holes in their game on defensive end. Maybe best example on this is that commonly hated defender Lauri Markkanen has the best defensive rating of all the starters (Coby, Lavine, PWill, Lauri & WCJ) and all 5 are bottom of the Bulls list. Sure they play against other teams starters and that really lowers their number because this unit is not a good starting unit, but they are also not good at defense (every single one of them. One might be a good one later in his career, but as right now he is a kid playing man's game). This is also the reason I think Bulls real goal in this year is not to win as many games as possible, but win as many games as possible while playing youngsters as much as possible. If Bulls would have had different starting 5's in games I think Bulls would have won 2-4 games more than now they have.

Pick & roll defense. There have been enough messages about this all ready, so really no need to go through the details. To be honest switching every screen would work better than this defense. This kind of defense does work, there are proofs of this in NBA even in this season. Because of tight schedule there is not much time to have practices, so team pretty much have to practice while playing games.
I think all of that is pretty spot on. The one thing that bothers me is the idea that the front office is dictating the lineup. If that is the case then we once again have the wrong front office. I get that any front office might request a specific young player see the court for significant minutes so they can evaluate what future moves need to be. But they certainly shouldn't be dictating who starts, pairings on the court, or player roles. As far as the elephant in the room, I get that they wanted to see whether Coby can be a lead Guard. That can be done without the approach Billy has taken.

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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#11 » by coldfish » Sat Feb 6, 2021 2:54 pm

If he is actively trying to win games, I would give him a D+. He has missed several opportunities to challenge calls. He leaves players in the game who are noticeably off. He has continued to start Coby when he shouldn't have and Otto deserved to start over PW. The pick and roll defense is simply inadequate.

If he is trying to use this as a developmental and evaluation year, I would give him an A. He is playing the young guys and doesn't have them looking over the shoulder for a quick hook. The rotation is stable so people aren't questioning their role every night. The offense is complicated enough that it forces the players to read, react and move but its not a super high end offense that is just going to frustrate players. He hasn't thrown players under the bus but he has been critical of team wide problems, like turnovers, effort and perimeter defense.

Just in general, I'm enjoying this season so much more than the last 4 that BD gets a free pass from me. I don't care about the record. If anything, its win-win for me where a bad record means high draft pick and a good record means that the team is talented. I just want to see entertaining, competitive basketball and on most nights, I'm getting that unlike the Hoiberg/Boylen years.
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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#12 » by Lunartic » Sat Feb 6, 2021 3:05 pm

He hasn't seemed to figure out how and when to challenge calls.

Hell, just challenge for a timeout at the end of games if nothing else.
It's weird - the Bulls can be on the bad end of a very suspect or damaging call and he just accepts it, doesn't even bark at the refs. Considering the Bulls have lost games by 2-5 points several times, those challenges can be the difference between W's and L's.

Unless he's stealth tanking and aiming for the 13th seed, then he's actually great.
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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#13 » by Stratmaster » Sat Feb 6, 2021 3:05 pm

Defensive approach and schemes:

We have talked a lot about the sagging big against the PnR. As someone just mentioned it can be a viable approach.

What I don't understand is the rigidity of it and running of it.

It seems to be based on who the Bulls big is. By that, I mean they don't seem to use it with Thad (a.k.a. when playing small ball).

If the Bulls had a huge shot blocker I could almost see it. For example it makes more sense to me with Gaff.

All I can think of is that Billy believes Carter and Gaff are young and mobile enough that once they learn they should be able to react and get out to cover shooters. But the opposite should also be true then. If they attack the PnR more they should be mobile enough to react to the roll. Yet the 32 year old dude is playing the PnR more aggressively, and getting burned less.

I would love to hear a reporter ask Billy about the logic behind his defensive approach.

At the 1 and 2 spots, the one problem Billy has is that his best man defender (despite his issues with rotation on defense) is Zach. He also happens to be the go to scorer and best (despite the turnovers) facilitator. You can't expect him to chase the opposing teams best scoring guard all game and still do the rest.

The Bulls players are young and just not very good defensively so the team being horrible certainly doesn't fall all on Billy. Still, I would like to see multiple defensive approaches based on team matchups... or at least try SOMETHING different.

Based on the results I would give him a D-. But based on circumstances I think it is more a C-

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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#14 » by Stratmaster » Sat Feb 6, 2021 3:16 pm

coldfish wrote:If he is actively trying to win games, I would give him a D+. He has missed several opportunities to challenge calls. He leaves players in the game who are noticeably off. He has continued to start Coby when he shouldn't have and Otto deserved to start over PW. The pick and roll defense is simply inadequate.

If he is trying to use this as a developmental and evaluation year, I would give him an A. He is playing the young guys and doesn't have them looking over the shoulder for a quick hook. The rotation is stable so people aren't questioning their role every night. The offense is complicated enough that it forces the players to read, react and move but its not a super high end offense that is just going to frustrate players. He hasn't thrown players under the bus but he has been critical of team wide problems, like turnovers, effort and perimeter defense.

Just in general, I'm enjoying this season so much more than the last 4 that BD gets a free pass from me. I don't care about the record. If anything, its win-win for me where a bad record means high draft pick and a good record means that the team is talented. I just want to see entertaining, competitive basketball and on most nights, I'm getting that unlike the Hoiberg/Boylen years.
Fair enough. I agree on all of that except Coby. Coby had no real PG skills and you don't develop them by just throwing him in the shark tank. Coby seems dejected and frustrated. Lavine seems dejected and frustrated.

Particularly with the short camp and preseason there was not as much opportunity to work with him outside of games. I think it would be much smarter to have him take the point against opposing bench mobs to start the season.

From there, the first 10-12 games showed he isn't ready. Continuing to force the issue isn't helping anyone and has eliminated the energetic, exuberant scoring machine we saw many times last season.

If Coby is going to develop PG skills it is going to be during off seasons.

I think the Bulls have the talent to be a playoff team. Anything less to me is a failure. I get that others don't see it that way and don't want to turn this into that discussion. But to address your point, if it is strictly a developmental year I give Billy an overall B-. If they are actually trying to win games the coaching has been a failure so far.

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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#15 » by Stratmaster » Sat Feb 6, 2021 3:17 pm

Lunartic wrote:He hasn't seemed to figure out how and when to challenge calls.

Hell, just challenge for a timeout at the end of games if nothing else.
It's weird - the Bulls can be on the bad end of a very suspect or damaging call and he just accepts it, doesn't even bark at the refs. Considering the Bulls have lost games by 2-5 points several times, those challenges can be the difference between W's and L's.

Unless he's stealth tanking and aiming for the 13th seed, then he's actually great.
I forgot to mention handling of the refs as a category. Yeah, he seems totally passive.

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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#16 » by Stratmaster » Sat Feb 6, 2021 4:06 pm

Player development:

I am just going to grade each of the young players separately.

Coby: F for reasons already mentioned.

Zach: B- he seems to have Zach's buy-in. Zach seems more focused defensively. I see Zach's improvement offensively as progress he would have made regardless as the offensive performance of other players improved. Billy has definitely reinforced the need for Zach to get others involved although that has almost been to a fault recently. Hopefully the end result will be a happy middle ground.

PWill: A- Pwill has had some bad games but came in as a 19 year old rook. Billy has had to start him due to injuries and has had a balanced approach between allowing the kid to play but not leaving him completely exposed.

Lauri: A- Lauri's usage has gone up and he is getting the most out of him. At times it has seemed forced but it probably has to be with a player like Lauri (needs to be set up).

Carter: due to the injury I have a hard time with this one. My initial feelings were that Carter had little impact but watching the Bulls attempt to defend bigs without Carter's minutes I think I overstated that early on.

Val: C. Not sure Val is really even in this conversation. On a good team he is likely an end of bench player and is who he is. I don't expect he is a focus of development. He plays stupid but I don't think any coach can change that.

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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#17 » by Hugi Mancura » Sat Feb 6, 2021 4:26 pm

Stratmaster wrote:
Hugi Mancura wrote:Ball moving offense is what these players needed. These players are not good at playing version of Houston's Harden offense, so lot of the suffered during Boylen era because of that. Ball moving offense does create more turnovers, specially if your players are young. Ability to read the game improves through age and mistakes. Young players don't have age and they haven't done the necessary mistakes. Good defensive team also have the ability to stop this ball movement. Bulls have lost every game where other team have interrupted Bulls ball movement.

He has also given players more freedom in offense, so they can do stuff they believe they are good at. This increases self esteem and that creates more points to the team. Forcing players to do stuff where they are not good enough just because your playbook says this player should do this thing creates more busts than anything else in NBA.

Players does listen to him and believe in him.

Then the negative stuff.
Starting 5 and roster rotation. Honestly don't believe he has make a call on this. I think he has gotten orders from above to start certain players no matter what. But starting 5 is just worst defensive unit Bulls can muster (if we use players who get any decent playing time). There is not a single player who I would count as a mediocre defender in NBA. All have meaningful holes in their game on defensive end. Maybe best example on this is that commonly hated defender Lauri Markkanen has the best defensive rating of all the starters (Coby, Lavine, PWill, Lauri & WCJ) and all 5 are bottom of the Bulls list. Sure they play against other teams starters and that really lowers their number because this unit is not a good starting unit, but they are also not good at defense (every single one of them. One might be a good one later in his career, but as right now he is a kid playing man's game). This is also the reason I think Bulls real goal in this year is not to win as many games as possible, but win as many games as possible while playing youngsters as much as possible. If Bulls would have had different starting 5's in games I think Bulls would have won 2-4 games more than now they have.

Pick & roll defense. There have been enough messages about this all ready, so really no need to go through the details. To be honest switching every screen would work better than this defense. This kind of defense does work, there are proofs of this in NBA even in this season. Because of tight schedule there is not much time to have practices, so team pretty much have to practice while playing games.
I think all of that is pretty spot on. The one thing that bothers me is the idea that the front office is dictating the lineup. If that is the case then we once again have the wrong front office. I get that any front office might request a specific young player see the court for significant minutes so they can evaluate what future moves need to be. But they certainly shouldn't be dictating who starts, pairings on the court, or player roles. As far as the elephant in the room, I get that they wanted to see whether Coby can be a lead Guard. That can be done without the approach Billy has taken.

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I actually understand why front offices does this. Teams that ain't fighting for championship or success on playoffs they must think where team is in 2-3 years time and do things that help team to be their best on that time period. So players like Sato, Thad & Porter are most likely gone to the greener pastures, so giving them more playing time is not necessary a good idea if the price is slowing down development of some player who have a chance to be with team at that time even if those players are better now than the young players.
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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#18 » by madvillian » Sat Feb 6, 2021 4:35 pm

I think it's fairly obvious he's been told winning this year isn't the priority. That said, he has to get someone on his bench that can help him with the challenges next year. It's a thing that has cost Chicago probably one game this year, maybe even two.

His offense seems a blend of read and react sets and then specific matchups he wants to try and exploit. Not bad. Better than Boylen ball. Bulls are playing with more tempo, like a modern NBA team.

Defensively it's been bad but with the worst defensive backcourt in the league by far and no WCJ I'm not sure what he could even do.
dumbell78 wrote:Random comment....Mikal Bridges stroke is dripping right now in summer league. Carry on.


I'll go ahead and make a sig bet that Mikal is better by RPM this year than Zach.
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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#19 » by BeKuK » Sat Feb 6, 2021 4:40 pm

It would be far too easy to blame Billy Donovon for everything and to attribute everything negative to him. The truth is that even a Billy Donovan can't turn water into wine because this team, these players, are just bad and have a below-average basketball IQ.

The coaching staff tries everything possible to work on deficits, but that is not possible if you have to deal with so many below-average IQ players. With Jim Boylen we'd probably be 3-18 right now.

Yes, BD made a couple of wrong decisions, but that happens (and believe me, I see BDs coaching deficits).With just a liitle bit of luck....just a little bit...and couple other decisions we could have been 10-11 or 11-10 now.

Look at our roster:

Arcidiacono - not more than 3rd unit guy

WCJ - well, not more than 2nd unit guy

Dotson - not NBA qualified

Felicio - not NBA qualified

Gafford - not more than 2nd unit

Hutchinson - not more than 3rd unit

Kornet - not NBA qualified (looks like)

Lavine - starter but not a leader, for me not even a ALL STAR

Markkanen - some question marks but a starter

Mokoka - (if anything then only) 3rd unit guy

OPJ - just hurt

Satoransky - Can he do anything at all

Temple - good to have on the bench

Valentine - not even 2nd unit for me.

Coby - a good sixth man - can go crazy on the court and hit 5 threes in a row

PWill - I love him

Thad Young - a guy I would love to keep

What do we really expect?

Billy Donovan can't turn water into wine!
Ice Man
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Re: Billy Donovan 

Post#20 » by Ice Man » Sat Feb 6, 2021 4:52 pm

I am not a big believer in the value of this coach vs. that coach, but clearly adding Billy Donovan and subtracting Jim Boylen has brought benefits. The biggest one, I think, has been that his players do on offense what they like to do, and what they do best, rather than be slotted into the coach's peg. Kris Dunn taking 5 3 pointers in a game because he's a guard and that's what guards do was Boylen Ball. As was having Thad stand in the corner. I was worried in the pre-season when Wendell was firing 3s that BD was of the same mindset, but that was only a pre-season experiment. Once the regular season started what the players did made sense.

The other important item is that the players seem happy. I think they respect Billy, across the board. That wasn't true with either Boylen or Fred.

I do think that Billy could shake up the defense, do more blitzing, throw some different looks at opponents. I feel as if our standard defensive approach is too predictable. But I don't think that coaches, ultimately, earn their stripes on tactics. They do so by getting the right minutes to the right players, by having their teams play to their strengths, and by creating a culture of hard work and mutual respect.

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