The Chicago Bulls came up short on Wednesday night. They fell 121-101 to the Atlanta Hawks in the first game of a three-game homestand. The loss gave the Bulls a 11-37 record on the season. It was also Jim Boylen’s 24th game as head coach. That matches the number of games predecessor Fred Hoiberg coached this season before being fired on Dec. 3.

It has been an eventful 24 games with Boylen at the helm. Under his watch, the team has edged out wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. However, they also suffered a franchise-record loss to the Boston Celtics, had a near-mutiny following that game, and recently went on a 10-game losing streak.

34 games remain in the season, so the Ballad of Boylen is still unfolding. However, now is still a good time to evaluate both Bulls coaches since they’ve coached an equal number of games this season. Fred Hoiberg was fired because the front office wanted the Bulls culture to change. Has Jim Boylen successfully done that over his first 24 games?

Kevin Anderson, Manager of Studio Content for NBC Sports Chicago, already got the ball rolling on this question. Not long after the Hawks game, he tweeted a graphic that compared the 2018-19 Bulls under Hoiberg and Boylen.

Unfortunately, regardless of who is at the helm, the Bulls have been below average in most categories. However, this graphic also highlights some differences in how both coaches have handled this roster.

Boylen picked up one more win than Hoiberg thanks to Chicago’s 104-88 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on MLK Day. However, for the first month of his tenure, it seemed like he would surpass Hoiberg’s win much sooner. The Bulls went 5-7 over his first 12 games. However, the Bulls went on to lose 10 consecutive games before Boylen picked up win No. 6.

The Bulls’ offensive and defensive efficiency has dropped in league ranking under Boylen. This is the case despite having most of the team’s best players healthy. Hoiberg coached without the services of Lauri Markkanen (23 games missed), Kris Dunn (23 games), and Bobby Portis (20 games) for most of his run. All three of them, along with Zach LaVine and Wendell Carter Jr., have been available for Boylen. Unfortunately, the results haven’t improved.

The Bulls offensive rating under Boylen may be 0.4 points better than with Hoiberg, but that uptick is fairly recent. 16 games into Boylen’s rein, the Bulls had a 99.5 offensive rating (30th in the league) — the only team to be sub-100 — and played at a pace of 95.8 possessions per 48 minutes (29th). Things have improved slightly thanks to a slight uptick in team pace. Chicago has had a 104.9 offensive rating in the last eight games (26th) at a pace of 99.7 possessions per 48 minutes (tied for 19th).

Neither coach has figured out a strong long-term defensive gameplan. At first, it seemed like Boylen had a handle on things. The Bulls closed out the final 13 games of 2018 with a 106.4 defensive rating, eighth-best in the NBA. However, things have fallen apart in the new year. Their 119.0 defensive rating in 2019 is second-worst in the league. The team has allowed over 110 points in nine of their last 11 games. As a result, they have gone 1-10 over this span.

The team has also regressed fundamentally, as they have dropped in the rankings for both assist and turnover rate. This is a reality despite Boylen having two backcourt playmakers in Dunn and LaVine and a passing big in Carter available to him. He wanted to slow down the offense, focusing on post play and slashing to the paint. That came at the expense of good ball movement, thus lower the assists and increasing turnovers.

One final angle worth exploring is examining Hoiberg’s and Boylen’s 24th games. There are several interesting parallels that underscore the comparisons made above. Hoiberg’s final game as coach was a Dec. 1 loss to the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center. Compared to Wednesday night, the Bulls conceded 121 points on 50.0 percent shooting in both games.

The trajectory of both games is also similar. Chicago’s opponent would jump out to a huge first quarter lead, like 38-22 versus Houston and 42-25 against Atlanta. The Bulls would then push back in the second, with them winning the quarter 24-18 in Houston and 35-24 over Atlanta. In the end, though, the opponent came out stronger in the second half and ultimately ran away with the game. The Rockets beat out the Bulls 65-59, while the Hawks prevailed 55-41.

Chicago also gave up a big night to the opponents’ star player in both games. James Harden led the Rockets with 30 points while going 9-of-16 from the field and 6-of-11 from 3-point range. Meanwhile, John Collins led Atlanta with 35 on 14-of-16 shooting, including 4-of-4 from distance. In fact, both teams shot at least 40 3-pointers: Atlanta went 15-of-40 from beyond, Houston went 16-of-41.

The Chicago Bulls are 24 games into Jim Boylen’s run as head coach. As evidenced by their statistical rankings and the striking similarities in the 24th games between him and his predecessor, it’s clear that little progress has been made to develop this team.

While this is apparent to journalists and fans on the outside, Boylen has the full support of the front office to continue coaching in the manner he has. We’ll see if Boylen improves as a coach, or if the team can persevere in spite of him. Maybe things will turn around over the next 24 games.

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