Regarding the team’s performance so far this season (which has sucked fallen below expectations): “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.” It apparently took him 40+ games to see this. You realize that, right?
Regarding the “Captain of the Titanic after the ship had already hit the iceberg” performance of Vinny D and the rest of 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.” It’s pretty honorable for Pax to throw himself under the bus and everything…but notice how he used self-deprecation to completely dodge answering any questions about Vinny? Yeah, me too.
Regarding the team’s defense (read that: defenselessness): “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].” Is it the schemes or the men coaching the schemes? Because I seem to remember Scott Skiles squeezing a lot of blood from a very similar turnip. Defensively speaking. Defense, which is less about athletic ability and more about focus and determination, is a mindset and it comes from the top.
Regarding how the team keeps choking down the stretch: “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.” Yes. Yes, you’re right about that, John. Except maybe Larry Hughes, who sounds pretty excited about it, since he’ll soon be getting a one-way ticket out of here.
There’s more in the article, including Paxson’s feelings on Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, trade possibilities and whether the team is secretly trying to position themselves for the 2010 Free Agent Bonanza. But while I appreciate that Pax has suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere developed a sense of self-awareness, I’m not sure I feel any more comfortable with the way he’s running the team. But let’s give him a chance, anyway. (Because we have no other choice at the present.)