(670 The Score) The concept of development may still apply to the Bulls' core of young players, but it certainly won't for their new head coach.
Billy Donovan is a proven success at the job, stepping from West to East after posting a 243-157 record (.608 winning percentage) in Oklahoma City in five seasons that culminated in five playoff appearances. He took the Thunder as far as the conference finals and oversaw the rise of a handful of dynamic players. Donovan has been dinged for too-early postseason ousters and some have questioned his in-game tactical chops, but make no mistake that his reputation around the league remains strong.
This puts in a high floor for the first phase of whatever we learn the plan of new Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas to be, and the dynamics of the hire itself are as important as the name on the top of the press release.
Karnisovas pursued Donovan quickly and with purpose, multiple outlets reported, when he became available unexpectedly, a divorce in Oklahoma City more about the confluence of divergent circumstances than any bad blood. That the Bulls' new brain trust acted this decisively and successfully is already a sign of better times. It also matters that a veteran coach presumably with all kinds of options chose the Bulls as a destination -- an endorsement enough of the assets already in stock from a coach who was clear about not wanting to shepherd a rebuild where he was.
It also provides meaningful credibility on two fronts. First is the construction of the kind of coaching staff not seen around Chicago in several years, one with the right combination of experience, smarts and energy that fits with the stated philosophy of a player-focused culture and modern approach to analysis. Donovan's standing coupled with the timing of the move could make these bench jobs attractive both to some steady veteran hands and names on the rise, even some already mentioned as candidates for the top job. Second, any big-ticket free agent available next year will hear directly from the coach about why he picked the Bulls.
It would've been impossible to please every segment of the fandom, with one valid position holding that it was the right place and moment for a young top assistant to be promoted and particularly one of color amid the NBA's powerful sociopolitical climate. Another, also correctly, is tired of this franchise being an entry-level spot for first-time head coaches, wanting to lure an established name. The latter group can't be disappointed with this.
This doesn't feel like Lou Piniella or John Fox, someone near the end of a career looking for one last paycheck before picking up a microphone. Donovan is a youthful 55 and brings an upbeat personality and media polish that are noted for not being accompanied by much of an ego.
It feels like a fit, in other words.
Karnisovas wanted Donovan, and Donovan wanted the Bulls. A new coaching era is upon us, and we can continue forgetting about Jim Boylen as completely as is humanly possible.
Dan Bernstein is the host of the Dan Bernstein Show on middays from 9 a.m. until noon on 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.