Bulls coach Jim Boylen

David Banks/USA Today Sports

Bernstein: What Will Bulls' Jim Boylen Do Next?

Military references, threats of boycotts and general wackiness keeps us guessing.

Dan Bernstein
December 18, 2018 - 3:49 pm
Categories: 

(670 The Score) Welcome to our new favorite sitcom: "The Adventures of Sergeant Jim," brainchild of veteran executive producer John Paxson.

In the pilot episode, our quixotic hero lamented that his soldiers on the Bulls were soft and out of shape. They took offense to that, and wackiness ensued with Jim fulminating about players today, then claiming it was all a part of his plan before uttering his catch phrase -- "I knew that was going to happen!" The epilogue was Jim making a plaintive phone call to Rudy Tomjanovich, who pretended there was a bad connection and hung up.

The next one was "The First Game," during which he jumped around and clapped his hands as if auditioning for the Incredibulls hype team, earning sidelong glances from the bench and eye-rolls from afar, then forcing the team into a corrective video session immediately after the game. Players really didn't appreciate that, and Jim looked into the camera, waited a beat and shouted "I worked for Gregg Popovich!" Roll credits.

Then we had the 56-point-loss show, in which Jim decided to embarrass NBA players with multiple five-man substitutions while they set a franchise record for biggest margin of defeat. This wasn't received well, so Sergeant Jim stood at the postgame microphone in aviator sunglasses, corncob pipe clutched between his teeth, thrust his chin forward and declared "That's what the Reinsdorfs are paying me for!" before stalking off and slamming the door of the locker room, realizing only moments later that was a custodial closet, and the door was now locked. The camera pans back from outside as the handle jiggles while Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine stand by and share a laugh before walking away.

Our next installment opened with Jim in his office, moving red plastic men around on his desk before standing up with a shot, yelling "shock and awe!" and then a close-up of his fist slamming down, sending the pieces scattering. Cut to wind sprints and punitive push-ups, players gasping for air and then calling the NBA Players' Association. Learning that this tactic was met with derision yet again, Jim claimed that this was done to "build trust" and that he knew it was going to happen. It ends with a wild dream sequence in which he's coaching at the University of Utah and all his players transfer elsewhere, and then he wakes up and remembers that actually happened.

"The Leadership Committee" episode had Sergeant Jim allowing some players to form a representative group to advocate for their workplace rights and address any grievances in more formal fashion, adhering strictly to military regulations. The first such concern was Jim's insistence that the entire team live in barracks and awaken at 5 a.m. daily, and the initial procedural ruling was still pending by the end of the show. As a subplot, Jabari Parker gets benched for not wanting to play defense. "I knew that was going to happen!" Jim says, with Parker responding, "Yeah, because I said so on the radio right after I signed."

Which brings us to "The Fight," in which Jim's Bulls get blown out by the Thunder, but everything is good because they punched people, and that means they're closer to being better at playing basketball. Jim sets a big-boy example for his young charges by grabbing an opposing player by his neck while yelling "You want old school? I'll show you old school!" Jim describes this behavior as "toughness," while remaining unaware that he has now created one of the least efficient offenses the NBA has seen since the mid-1990s.

Soon to come in our next adventures:

-- On a very special edition for the whole family, delay of the Bulls' charter due to mechanical issues leaves them with an unplanned stay at an airport hotel that's also hosting a mascot convention. Robin Lopez is compelled to barge into the main ballroom during the climactic Mascot Ball and disrupt the festivities, only to realize at long last that he himself is one-eighth mascot on his father's side and is accepted warmly into the group. Sergeant Jim upbraids them all for not taking the game seriously, reminding them that he worked for Tom Izzo and that Izzo made Denzel Valentine the player he is today. A woman dressed up as a giant purple opossum springs from her seat and shoots Jim in the crotch with a T-shirt cannon.

-- After another rough stretch, Jim pores over tape to see what the losses have in common and decides that his team is drinking too much water during games. "It's happening during EVERY timeout!" he shouts, concluding that over-hydration is the culprit. "Water is diluting our intensity and softening our precious hardnesses!" The Leadership Committee convenes an emergency ad hoc session that eventually results in a largely symbolic letter of censure.

-- Sergeant Jim makes the team watch "A Few Good Men" after a three-hour practice, even though they all actually understand the intended thematic point of the film. Jim jumps up and down on top of a file cabinet, waving a clipboard and bellowing "You need me on that wall! You can't handle the truth!" before falling off and ending up with his head stuck in a wastebasket before burbling a muffled, "I knew that was going to happen."

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​