Sam Smith published a positive listener question about John Paxson and responded thoughtfully. Weird to think of positivity and sports analysis crossing paths.
Sometimes we forget, don’t we? Our memories are short. The proverbial “What have you done for me lately?”
John Paxson is a legend. 3 Rings, with the clinching shot to finish off the three-peat.
Let’s immediately stop giving that loser with the GarPax jersey any attention. He wasn’t removed from a game for having that jersey – he was removed for being an asshole…er…”belligerent” in the seating area. Bet dollars to Dashin’ Donuts he’s a dipshit – in basketball knowledge and in real life. That’s just based on the fact he spends good money to have “notice me” jerseys custom made. Want to be an actual fan? Buy a Zach LaVine jersey. Want to get some undeserved attention? Buy a custom made GarPax jersey. Guarantee that guy hasn’t watched a full 48. Ever.
Then there’s the illegitimate websites. Sites with lots of content but zero information or ethics. Yeah, those are the same pun-named ones that come up on Google way too often when you search for Bulls stories. Way too fucking often. Very same sites that in 2017 suggested trading Jimmy Butler for Jahlil Okafor, straight-up. There should be a trash-journalism meter on Google for absolute nonsense that doesn’t even rate as clickbait. At least clickbait factory Joe Cowley of the Sun-Times has a basis of basketball knowledge and is around the team on a daily basis.
Difference between the loudmouths on twitter and the guys who actually have to construct trades that work and make decisions about the future is no one remembers what you tweeted, so you can change your story along the way – either full 180 or re-explaining it as if you knew, but you were just saying…
Same folks would’ve taken Michael Beasley over Derrick Rose.
Pax didn’t. Gar didn’t. Same folks who shredded ‘em for drafting Joakim Noah. Same folks who wanted Noah gone after a bumpy rookie year. Same folks. Same loud, ignorant folks.
Mistakes, sure. They’ve made ‘em.
Firing Ron Adams – huge, prideful mistake. Dumb with a capital D.
Letting Omer Asik walk…shortsighted. His length bothered the Miami Heat. Guess that one didn’t really matter without Derrick, anyways.
Missing the boat on Spencer Dinwiddie in favor of MCW. Oops.
Jim Boylen? At least should’ve done some interviews. But let’s stop pretending Boylen isn’t an NBA lifer. He deserves more respect, too. Even if his methods haven’t turned into results. Let’s stop mocking him like mean girls.
Guess what? Every GM has made some mistakes. And fallen into some dumb luck.
Legend has it the Warriors tried to give the Bucks Stephen Curry instead of Monta Ellis in the Andrew Bogut trade. Milwaukee didn’t want gimpy ankled Steph. Neither did GS. But they relented and gave up Ellis instead. Good fortune for GS. Bad on the Bucks, but they drafted Giannis – so, all is well up north.
Danny Ainge, you say? Very good GM. But far from perfect. Zizic ahead of Siakam. RJ Hunter ahead of Montrezl Harrell. If he could do it over again, would he take Marshon Brooks…or Gar’s pick: Jimmy Butler? What about Ainge’s trades, you say? Fleeced Philly for Tatum. Big time win for Danny. Obviously…the Nets trade was a massive haul. But more recently…Matisse Thybulle would be a nice fit in green. Unfortunately, Danny dealt him to Philly for the rights to Carsen Edwards & Ty Jerome (shipped to along with Aron Baynes Phoenix for a future protected pick.) He’s landed free-agents. Big names. Hayward. Horford. Walker. Contenders, not likely champions. Like I said, he’s a good GM. But if his ol’ running buddy Kevin McHale hadn’t traded him Kevin Garnett for a bag of balls, Danny would still be sitting on zero rings as a GM. Paxson and Forman built a championship caliber team, but Rose got hurt. Ifs and buts.
Paxson and Forman have done very well overall on drafts. Trades have been a mixed bag. Won the Eddy Curry trade. The Cameron Payne experiment didn’t go well. But it didn’t really cost much. Doug McDermott was done here and Taj Gibson wasn’t to be re-signed. That whole Jordan Bell 2nd round pick thing was more overblown than Kelis’ yard. He’s maybe a role player – more likely an end of the bench guy. Which isn’t a bad career. But local pundits acted like we gave away Bill Russell. The Jimmy Butler trade was immediately ripped by all but the smartest Bulls watchers (the smart ones really liked it right away. I was at the Bulls draft party so I know. Kendall Gill was elated we got Zach LaVine. Sam Smith and K.C. Johnson both heralded the return. Paxson and Forman were mocked by most others. Zach, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen haven’t equaled winning, while Jimmy Buckets – whom I absolutely love – eventually landed in Miami. As much I as love Jimmy, I can’t imagine a scenario where they make the NBA Finals out of the East during his tenure…unless Joel Embiid, Giannis, Siakam and Tatum are somehow all out injured for the duration of the playoffs. But in the midst of a down year for Lauri – critics are pointing to Butler’s success in Miami as evidence to regrade that Minnesota trade as a loss in that trade. Zach, Lauri & Dunn might not be the Big 3 that leads Chicago to the promised land. But I think they all could be pieces. Zach is only 25 and still improving. Don’t be naive and think Lauri Markkanen forgot how to play basketball. Kid is still special. And Dunn can be an important rotation piece. Combined with the emergence of Coby White and Wendell Carter Jr., I’ll take the future of the Bulls over the future of a lot of other franchises, including Miami. Championship aspirations for the Bulls? I don’t know. You gotta get past the Greek Freak. So they’ll need more. But I’m optimistic they can contend.
I would like to see some new blood in the front office. A little diversity wouldn’t hurt either. Gar should be maintained as a scout, because he’s good at that. Paxson shouldn’t be shunned or denigrated in this town. He should take the Kenny Williams role and let a young GM take the helm for coaching and trade decisions, with John’s input.
Let’s all stop acting like dicks to people, including athletes, coaches and executives. Paxson earned our respect.