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News » Will Bulls' changes be for the better?


Will Bulls' changes be for the better?


Will Bulls' changes be for the better?
Above all else in the post-Michael Jordan era for the Chicago Bulls, it's been interesting.

From the disastrous attempt at transformation from president Jerry Krause that began with the hiring of Tim Floyd as coach amid the salvos fired between Krause and former coach Phil Jackson, through Krause's firing and the resurrection designed by his replacement John Paxson, they're still in a state of flux.

In other words, all eyes now are focused on Paxson, entering his sixth season as executive vice president of basketball operations — and metaphorically speaking, we'll find out after all these years if he's really a point guard capable of doing whatever it takes to make a team win.

Or, just a sweet shooter in a point guard's clothing.

Going into this season, there are three big stories twisting in the wind.

  • The Bulls are going with an unproven coach in rookie Vinny Del Negro.

  • Did they make the right decision taking Derrick Rose with the No. 1 overall pick instead of Michael Beasley when they so badly need low-post scoring?

  • What are they going to do with Ben Gordon and/or Kirk Hinrich?

    Ultimately, it will be about how they recover from being one of the top young teams in the East to falling apart last season, firing abrasive coach Scott Skiles and completely losing the identity of being a young team predicated on tough defense that scored in bunches while in search of a low-post scorer.

    NBA offseason

    And the questions are still there for Joakim Noah, although it is quite apparent he is a tireless worker and rebounder who will do all the cleaning up on the boards and on the floor. He, too, has found a sock stuffed in his mouth by the organization on occasion.

    On paper, that's five very talented and young bodies Paxson has put together up front. It is impressive in many ways. And yet, unless they can get Gooden or Noah to discover a go-to move, there's still nobody who they can dump the ball in to so they can work inside out, get a crunch-time bucket or draw a foul. Sure, Deng is quick and has great touch, but he's still too skinny and will get knocked around inside — he's much better at mid-range or filling the lane on the break. Nocioni is much stronger but is still a perimeter player.

    That leaves us wondering what Del Negro and staff will do with all of this. In fact, they're probably wondering the same thing with training camp beginning next week.

    Will Gordon be there to see how the backcourt all fits together; not ignoring the minor detail that nobody has said much about Rose's knee? You know, the one that prematurely ended summer league for the 19-year-old in the first week?

    Ultimately, it ends up in Paxson's lap. He suffered through the indignities of owner Jerry Reinsdorf's dalliances with Mike D'Antoni and flirtation with Doug Collins in the coaching search that dragged on far too long before the Del Negro hiring. And it may take until the first of the year before we find out if Del Negro knows what he's doing and if the group they have fits together any better than it did last season when Skiles rubbed everybody raw until he was fired, sending everything straight downhill from there.

    Soon enough, we'll find out if Paxson is guiding the franchise on the right track ... or if he's just launching 3-pointers with the hope that they'll drop. So far, that's exactly the type of team they've turned out to be.


    Author: Fox Sports
    Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
    Added: September 25, 2008

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