John Paxson knows there’s a lot of blame to go around.
The Advocate Center and United Center are filled with liability when it comes to the Bulls and their disappointing 10-18 start.
The empty seats during recent home games, the growing disdain expressed by fans, all of it speaks volumes to the team’s vice president of basketball operations.
On Saturday, Paxson made it clear: The finger-pointing should begin and end with him.
“I take responsibility for where we’re at,’’ Paxson said. “I always will.’’
Paxson has taken ownership before, but if a frustrated fan base was thinking heads were about to roll, think again.
Speaking individually to a handful of media outlets before the game against the Clippers, Paxson backed coach Jim Boylen and reiterated that Boylen isn’t on the hot seat in his first full season.
“First of all, our fan base has been terrific, and I’m really sensitive to [their frustration],’’ Paxson said. “I want our fans to care about us; I want them to see a product out there that they can root for. I get it. I own that. I own that we’re not at that level. I’m in lockstep with Jim and his commitment to where we want to get to. That’s not wavering at all.’’
When asked if Boylen was in trouble, Paxson said, ‘‘No, no.’’
No Christmas Day surprises, such as a coach getting fired?
“No, look, there is no quick fix to right where we’re at,’’ Paxson said. “I’ll say this again, I thought — and we all did — we would have a better record than we do right now. I do believe we have talent. It’s young, and there’s not a lot of experience, but I do believe we have talent. So we’ve underperformed in that area, but there’s no quick fix in this right now. That’s the view I have to take.’’
Paxson also said he isn’t going to dwell on his own job security.
“I never worry about that,’’ Paxson said. “I communicate with Jerry and Michael [Reinsdorf], and they know where my head is at, my heart is at and what I’m trying to do. Look, that’s a what-if, and I’m not working on a what-if.’’
Instead, Paxson said he’s working on “what is.” He said the Bulls’ problems can’t necessarily be delineated in one sentence, but they can be summed up.
“I know I personally was confident we would be playing at a better level and have more wins, which is what you’re looking for,’’ Paxson said. “With that said, the areas that we have really struggled that have hurt us is we haven’t shot the ball well. That was something I know I didn’t anticipate, that we would shoot as poorly as we’ve shot. And we haven’t rebounded the ball very well, and that could be attributed to a lot of things.
“I watch a lot of practices, I sit in for a lot of meetings with Jim and his staff, I sit in film sessions with the team, and I see a lot of good things being taught and emphasized to our team. What isn’t happening is a consistent carryover to the games. That’s probably been the thing that’s frustrated me the most.’’
That’s why Paxson thinks the organization needs to refrain from knee-jerk reactions and have faith that the players will turn it around.
“What’s fair to say is, if we stay consistent in how we’re working, Jim and the staff, and the players are working to get better, then I think it has to get better,’’ Paxson said. “If it doesn’t, then that allows me an opportunity to weigh a lot of different things.’’