And then came the PaxSpeak:
"You can't take your whole roster and revamp it," Paxson said. "There's no question we have talent on this team. The question is what happened to the willingness to play as a team that we exhibited the last couple of years as opposed to what happened this year.
"I really am looking forward to sitting down with each player and talking with them about this year and about what I expect going forward. I do expect this off-season to be more team-oriented as opposed to individually oriented. That to me is going to dictate this organization's future."
Several players recently have stated intentions to split off-season workouts between the Berto Center and either hometowns with personal coaches or cities with basketball academies. As a player, Paxson participated in closely knit team off-season workouts organized by Michael Jordan.
(I wish he gave a better timetable, although I assume that he doesn't mean the players have to be around all summer, merely around sometime before training camp and after whatever individual workouts or respective national team commitments are scheduled. At least sometime after a new coaching staff is hired and free agency is settled.)
At first glance, it looks like another instance of Pax concerning himself way too much about off-court 'habits'. We all heard last summer's tales from the Berto Center Parking Lot that made Gordon and Deng seem to be workout mavens, and where did that get anybody?
And the example given of how Pax used his summers to work with the team rings hollow, as what was more important: the workouts between blackjack sessions? Or that they had Michael Jordan on the team?
Sometimes I worry that Paxson isn't sure.
It sounds like the biggest concern going into the offseason is getting a great coach (as, apparently, a very good coach who may quit on you wasn't the answer), and getting everyone 'bought in'. But in the grand title-striving scheme, those should be secondary steps, with the first getting a team talented enough to compete without such things.
However, I think Paxson is just gearing up for the truth that there's little sense banking on some major upgrade 'star' acquisition, or lottery dreams. Not that it's impossible, just that it takes some luck anyway, so while always keeping an eye on that, in the meantime you have to worry about the little things that could make a team go back from above average to below average. It's not the ultimate goal, but it's a start.
Though even with that goal in mind, I sure hope that Paxson doesn't value the interview over the resume. Especially with a franchise with an abysmal record of developing players, maybe it's best they get away for a while.