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News » Bulls GM Forman talkin' base-ball

Bulls GM Forman talkin' base-ball

Bulls GM Forman talkin' base-ballDon't try selling most sports fans on the idea that patience pays. They don't want to hear about the future. They don't want to hear about progress or the development of players.

They want results -- and they want results now.

That's especially true of Bulls fans, who've grown weary of rebuilding after more than a decade of plans have resulted in a few playoff appearances, one series win and a lot of false hope.

There's little doubt that the three-game losing streak -- lopsided losses to the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers -- has made quite a few fans wonder whether the latest rebuilding plan is destined to go bust.

But general manager Gar Forman, who was promoted from within the organization over the summer, remains optimistic despite the recent struggles and the Bulls' 6-7 record entering tonight's game against the Utah Jazz.

Before the team practiced here Wednesday and departed for Salt Lake City, I caught up with Forman and asked him to assess the season.

''We've made strides,'' he said. ''We said going into the year we wanted to have a defensive base to us and wanted to be better defensively, and I think up to this point we've accomplished that -- even though we've hit a bump in the road here the last couple of games against very good teams.

''We said we've wanted to be a team that played with more consistent energy, and I think, for the most part, we've done that.

''There are things we need to continue to improve on. I think that base defensively will help us throughout the season. I think we have to play with a certain pace about us and be an up-tempo team, and I think there's even been strides in that the last couple of weeks. I think we're getting there.''

Slow start for Rose

Of course, no one expected the Bulls to be a contender. Making the playoffs and the continued development of the team's young players -- particularly point guard Derrick Rose -- is all it would take for me to deem this season a success.

But Rose, who missed most of training camp with a right ankle injury, hasn't played at the same level he did last season, and that's a concern.

''Derrick obviously got off to a slow start, but that's to be expected; he missed the entire training camp,'' Forman said. ''The ankle was bothering him. I think the ankle is fine [now], but it takes awhile to get, A, his conditioning and, B, to get in a rhythm. The encouraging thing the last week or so is you're seeing some of that old explosiveness and aggressiveness come back into his game.

''I was never worried about it because we know who Derrick is and what he's about and what he's made of. He's still probably not at 100 percent. I think he'll continue to improve.''

Forman also isn't concerned about the offensive problems (particularly the shooting woes) that have hampered the team in the first month. Despite a recent uptick, the Bulls still are averaging only 91.4 points on 43.4 percent shooting.

''The shooting, I know, has been talked about some,'' Forman said. ''But the defense, in my mind, can be consistent, and that's what we're striving to be, consistent on the defensive end of the floor.

''The shooting, I know John [Salmons] and Kirk [Hinrich] and some guys are off to a slow start shooting, but we would expect they'll come back to their career norms.

''When you've emphasized defense like we've emphasized it, it's not unusual for your offense to be behind your defense, and I think we've seen some of that.''


The Bulls could have a couple more victories, but they can't be too upset with their position despite the losing record.

Their schedule the first month was nothing short of brutal and had the potential to bury them if they played poorly.

But the Bulls have survived -- regardless of what happens in the last two games of the circus trip -- and now they can look forward to a smoother December schedule that consists of only four road games.


Bulls AT Jazz

The facts: 9:30, Ch. 9, 1000-AM.

NBA standings: Page 55.

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Added: November 27, 2009


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