HoopsHype.com Interviews

John Paxson: "It will take a couple of years to rebuild"
by Jose Ajero / March 2, 2004

How difficult has it been for you fill the shoes of an experienced man like Jerry Krause in Chicago?

John Paxson: I'm not trying to fill Jerry’s shoes. All I want for our organization is to get back a team that can compete for the playoffs and for championships. We are not where we want now, but I’m still trying to be myself.

How can you create the atmosphere of a winning team when right now the playoffs are so distant?

JP: We are trying to create a good place for people to work and build a team that can fight for a championship. But it's difficult. You have to get players that want to win and at the same time take care of the money and the business side. But we have some ways to get there.

What are your expectations for next season?

JP: We have a lot of expectations for next year, but right now our main goal is to get better every day and make some moves to rebuild the team.

How long do you think that will take?

JP: We are thinking a couple of years.

You've been the GM of the Bulls for a year. Have you found out what the problems are and what's the way to solve them?

JP: We have a lot of problems that we can't solve in a short period of time. It’s too difficult. It’s going to take some time. Maybe the first thing is to be lucky in the draft…

Do you think you know what is the best way to change the Bulls?

JP: I know the way… I hope so.

Chicago made two big moves this season – hiring Scott Skiles and the Jalen Rose-Donyell Marshall trade. But the situation is no better than it was at the beginning of the season. What do you think these moves have made for the team?

JP: We are in the same place, but I think Scott Skiles is the right person for the team. He is a very good coach handling players. He is a good basketball coach. The most important thing is he is very good with the young guys. Right now, we have a rookie point guard, Kirk Hinrich, that is learning a lot from him.

Are you afraid that your team gets used to lose 50 or 60 games every season?

JP: We worry about that all the time. We need to break that cycle. We have to find the right group of guys and hope that with them we can go far together. I want that badly.

Chicago is a basketball city, but fans could get tired of losing and stop going to games like it happens in other cities.

JP: It's unbelievable. We still get great crowds for every game. They are very supportive and that is a present for us. But my job is to make them feel proud of the team that we put on the floor.

What's your message of hope for the fans and the team?

JP: The message is that we have a lot of young talent and I understand that the fans can be impatient because they want that they guys get better quickly. But everybody is working very hard to get better and win more games in the future.

Jose Ajero is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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