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Raptors coach Nick Nurse believes Jim Boylen will be a ‘good leader’ for Chicago

Jim Boylen, Nick Nurse

Jim Boylen’s old-school tactics wore thin on the Chicago Bulls in the first week of his tenure as head coach after taking over for the fired Fred Hoiberg. Players were so frustrated with the frequency and intensity of his practices, they briefly considered skipping one en masse before agreeing to discuss their issues with Boylen and the coaching staff at team facilities. His seemingly arcane offensive approach was just another reason why it seemed like Boylen wouldn’t last the remainder of the regular season before Chicago replaced him.

Three months removed from April, Boylen is firmly entrenched as the Bulls’ coach of the present and future, and his team is a trendy pick to compete for a lower-rung playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. There’s still no telling Boylen is the right coach for Chicago, but he’s clearly done far better than his first few weeks on the job made it seem possible, when his ability to relate to modern-day players seemed irrevocably in doubt.

But the Toronto Raptors’ Nick Nurse, who knows a thing or two about managing a team after leading revamped Toronto to its first ever championship in his first year as a head coach, believes it’s Boylen’s sense of leadership that has the Bulls poised for success.

“Well, first of all, Jimmy Boylen, the head coach, is a good friend of mine and he is a hell of a coach,” Nurse said, per Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago, when asked why he’s high on the Bulls. “Everything rises and falls with leadership and…he’ll be a good leader for them.”

Chicago has one of the most promising young cores in the NBA, with Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter, Otto Porter, and rookie Coby White, the No. 7 overall pick. The Bulls signed Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky this summer in free agency, too, steadying influences who make positive contributions on both ends of the floor.