Apparently John Paxson has given a "State of The Bulls" address recently. He is pretty spot on regarding most of the things he talks about. Here are the highlights (Sorry about how long this is):
John Paxson was matter-of-fact and candid in delivering a midseason state-of-the-Bulls address Wednesday at the Berto Center, admitting the Bulls are "not very good right now" and acknowledging that he had failed to create the team he wants.Seems like he isn't exactly standing behind Vinny very strongly. I wouldn't either. There is no reason to break this down any further, but at least its nice to hear him be somewhat honest and critical. Is a trade imminent? God I hope so. Here's a little illustration I found that may help us better understand what Pax is trying to do here:
Know this about the Bulls' general manager: For all those who criticize him for failing to make a move or perhaps making the wrong one, Paxson already has pummeled himself over it.
On the first day of training camp, Paxson said his top priority was to re-create the selfless, hustling, lunch-bucket teams that made three straight playoff appearances under Scott Skiles from 2005-07.
Asked his assessment of where this season's team stood in that category, Paxson said, "It's not good enough."
Here's Paxson on a variety of topics:
On the Bulls' play: "I'm obviously not happy. I don't think my expectations were such going into the season thinking we were going to be a top-level team. But what I want to see is the team play together. And right now, through 40-plus games, we're not doing that. And that concerns me."
On the coaching staff: "The only person I'll evaluate right now is myself, and I obviously haven't done the job of putting the type of team I want on the floor in terms of competitiveness and effort. That falls on me."
On the possibility of a trade: "What's inhibiting a lot of deals is the luxury tax because you have a ton of teams right up against it. To do a deal, the dollars have to work within a very small amount of money. Paying the tax is a real issue, especially with some of the things going on in the world business-wise. It's just a smart move to be respectful of what that tax means.
"We're looking. And players can't be looking over their shoulder all the time either. They have to accept that they have to play and compete and perform. My job is to field that team. Right now, we're not the type of team that I want."
On the porous defense: "It's two things. The level of personal commitment to that side has to be there. And paying attention to whatever the scheme is you're trying to run. I know [coach Vinny Del Negro] and his staff have tried to simplify a lot of things we're doing defensively to try to get consistent at something. Even though we haven't always been consistent moving the ball offensively, I still think we can score enough. But we're giving up far too many points and far too many easy points. The defensive end has to get better, or we're going to continue like [this]."
On whether the Bulls purposely will clear salary-cap space to wait for the stellar 2010 free-agent class: "I want to try to make our team better today — 2010 is a long way off. There are always avenues you can go down to get off contracts. Teams like a lot of our pieces because they fit alongside an established star. I'm not saying they're offering a lot in return. And that's what we're trying to find, another established player to put alongside [ Derrick] Rose."
On whether Rose is regressing: "I wouldn't say that. I'm not sure what's expected. He's going to have games where he doesn't play as well as he would like. I haven't seen one rookie who doesn't have some ups and downs. He's playing very well."
On Luol Deng since returning from injury: "He has been good, real active. He's running the floor and doing the things he does well. We get mired in quick shots that always hurt you as a team. If they don't go in, you have no floor balance and your transition defense is poor. Then other guys start hunting for their shots because they haven't touched the ball for a while. Lu isn't a quick-shot player. He needs an offensive flow. When he's at his best, we're moving the ball."
On the inability to close out games: "We're not very good right now. We're not playing well enough to win those games. … The turnovers we had throwing the ball away in the backcourt, it's just concentration and focus. I'm not going to say I'm pleased we've been competing better because we want to win. I don't like where we're at. I don't think anybody does."