Chicago Bulls: 3 keys to surviving this disastrous season

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Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images /
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(Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images) /

3. Refocus the season around Lauri Markkanen

This season is slowly drifting toward being a lost year in the Windy City. Maybe the infamous near-coup on Sunday will serve as the catalyst for a rebuilding of trust between the players and the coach who seemingly would prefer the title of sheriff rather than head coach.

One refreshing signal that all is not lost is that Lauri Markkanen may be the new team leader. According to the Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson, the second-year forward was instrumental in thwarting a practice boycott.

The next step for Markkanen is to take that leadership role to the floor. To Boylen’s credit, his first move, albeit an easy one, was to insert Markkanen back into the starting lineup upon taking the reins.

Now, instead of being concerned about benching his starters so they can be fresh for practice, Boylen should re-focus his attention around developing his seven-foot forward with a silky shot into the star he could become.

In his first five games, Markkanen has averaged 15.2 points and 6.2 rebounds while playing 26.6 minutes a game — not overly impressive numbers for sure, but for the Finnish star, this has essentially been his training camp. The expectation should be that as Markkanen gets more comfortable, his play will improve. If the Bulls focus on Markkanen becoming the player most believe he can be, the season could still have positive results.