New Bulls GM Eversley identifies point of weakness
New Bulls general manager Marc Eversley plans to take his time before making any decisions regarding players, coaches or front office personnel.
But even from his seat in Philadelphia, he noticed a glaring deficiency in how the Bulls have been operating.
"I was surprised to find that there was one player development coach on the staff as I was doing my research for this job." Eversley said on a conference call Friday. "That's a heck of job for one person to take on."
Shawn Respert was the lone assistant coach with "player development" in his title. The Bulls had five other assistant coaches on staff to help with skill development, along with Shaun Hickombottom, who helps players transition off the court.
"It's going to be one of my tenants to try and figure out our player development system," Eversley said. "There's a lot of key areas within it -- skill development, physical development, mental enhancement. But with that, you need to hire people to help support that.
"We're going to do a pretty diligent job in terms of looking for the proper staff to bring in here to work with our young guys. But player development is going to be a tremendous focus for this organization moving forward."
The Bulls officially announced the hiring of Eversley on Friday, five days after the news first broke. Vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said he made the call to offer Eversley the job after watching Episodes 3 and 4 of "The Last Dance" documentary last Sunday.
Eversley spent the past four years as vice president of player personnel for the Philadelphia 76ers. Before that, he worked in player personnel for the Washington Wizards for three years and the Toronto Raptors for seven years.
The Brampton, Ontario, native began his professional career with Nike. He started as a retail store manager in Toronto and worked his way to the company headquarters in Portland, spending five years as player relationship manager. The 6-foot-8 Eversley played college basketball at the NAIA level for Urbana University in Ohio.
"He has tremendous work ethic, and the combination of his eye for talent and ability to connect with players and coaches made him a primary candidate for us," Karnisovas said. "I will use a lot of his ideas. In many ways, his values are close to mine.
"We value inclusion of staff, we will challenge our staff. We will implement transparency, communication, functionality. And finally, Marc's relationship with players and coaches will play a key role. At the end of the day we are both basketball junkies and we're looking forward to this opportunity to turn the Bulls organization around."
Eversley wasn't afraid to set the bar high during his first interaction with Chicago reporters.
"Everything starts and ends with winning," he said. "We need to focus our culture and mindset to be about excellence day in and day out. I'm so excited to start this chapter. For Bulls fans, hear me when I say it: Our ultimate goal is to bring an NBA championship back to the city of Chicago."
When asked how he plans to bring a winning environment to a team short on veterans or players with winning experience, Eversley pointed to player development.
As far as the future of head coach Jim Boylen and his staff, both Eversley and Karnisovas repeated that's a decision for another day. At this point, the NBA is still hoping to resume the season, although how and when that will happen is anyone's guess. On Friday, the league officially postponed the draft lottery and draft combine, two events scheduled to be held in Chicago.
"I think we owe it to everybody on staff to get to Chicago and meet them face-to-face," Eversley said. "I think we owe it to our players to hopefully get to evaluate them in practice settings, in playing settings. And we owe it to our staff to see them in those types of settings as well. I just think it's far too early to make those types of decisions with respect to anybody on the staff until we get to Chicago."
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