John Paxson Gives His State Of The Bulls Address

“We’re not very good right now,” that’s how general manager John Paxson summed up his assesment of the Chicago Bulls over the first half of the season. At 18-25 they’re not the worst team in the league, but coming into the season expectations were a lot higher than another year of potentially having ping pong balls in the lottery. Paxson says that the only person that he blames is himself, and truthfully speaking he deserves all of the blame for the season the Bulls are having.

The game is played on the court and the players have to play, but as a GM you have to make personnel and coaching decisions that put the team in position to win. Paxson hasn’t done that. In fact, over the past 2 years he’s made some of the dumbest personnel and coaching decisions that I’ve seen a GM make. So let’s evaluate him and the things that he’s done since being named GM in 2003.

In the 2003 NBA Draft his first as a GM, he took Kirk Hinrich with the 7th pick which was a good move. That December he fired head coach Bill Cartwright and hired Scott Skiles which was an even better move. In the summer of 2004 he drafted Ben Gordon,  Luol Deng, Chris Duhon and Andres Nocioni. As a result of the moves he made in his first two seasons, the Bulls made it back to the playoffs 3 years in a row after a 7 year drought dating back to the last championship. Solid start.

In 2005 he traded Eddy Curry to the New York Knicks which landed the Bulls a  first round pick in 2006 NBA Draft. In the 2006 Draft Lottery, the Knicks pick ended up being #2. On draft night he cut a deal with Portland and used the pick to select LaMarcus Aldridge and then traded his rights to the Trailblazers who had selected Tyrus Thomas. We all know how that one turned out. Aldridge ended up being the better player and Tyrus sucks. He also traded the rights to Rodney Carney to the Philadelphia 76ers for the rights to Thabo Sefolosha. That move ended up being a wash because they’re both garbage. He should’ve just kept Aldridge  or better still drafted Brandon Roy who became an All-Star in his 2nd season.

That same summer he signed Ben Wallace in free agency and gave up on Tyson Chandler and traded him to New Orleans. The result? Tyson had the best season of his career in the “Big Easy” and is now thriving alongside Chris Paul and Ben Wallace ended up being the non-producing bum we all knew he was.

 In 2007 he drafted Joakim Noah with the 9th pick when he should’ve just traded it because it was a weak draft and Noah is terrible. In December of the same year he fired Scott Skiles which at the time looked like a good move because the team seemed to stop responding to him. Two months later after two very non-productive seasons, Paxson traded “Big Bum” Wallace to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden and Shannon Brown.

That spring after the Bulls ended up with the #1 pick in the NBA Draft, Paxson brought in Vinny Del Negro — who had the same number of years of NBA head coaching experience as I did — to lead the team. Paxson then made the best move he’d made his entire tenure as GM by drafting Derrick Rose over Michael Beasley.

So all in all, if I had to give John Paxson a grade I’d have to give him a D. The first 2 years he looked like a genius, but since then he’s assembled a staff and a roster that’s just a big muddy mess of parts that don’t mesh well and can’t work together. Hard decisions need to be made now. We need a new coach that has actual head coaching experience, preferably in the NBA; it would also be nice if the guy has a few W’s on his resume too. Then we need to scrap the current roster, get rid of the dead weight (Thabo Sefolosha, Larry Hughes, Tyrus Thomas & Joakim Noah) and pretty much start all over again.

The team needs to obviously be built around Derrick Rose and you need to surround him with players who first and foremost play hard. Some of those players need to be able to  score, they all need to be able to defend, and there needs to be solid veterans who can provide leadership. So basically what I’m saying is, Mr. Paxson that’s what needs to be done in order to turn this ship around. And if you can’t then Mr. Reinsdorf, it’s time to find someone who can.


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