At the beginning of his emotional Most Valuable Player acceptance speech Tuesday, Derrick Rose started by thanking the management for "putting this team together."
It’s not often that the front office of an NBA organization is thanked. Instead, they usually find themselves in the spotlight discussing a below-average season or a disappointing player.
The men being recognized by a grateful Rose were Executive Vice-President of Basketball Operations John Paxson and General Manager Gar Forman.
It’s well-deserved, considering they are essentially the two responsible for Rose, Coach of The Year Tom Thibodeau, and the best record in the 2010-2011 season.
If you had looked at the front office a mere four years ago, you would never have been able to guess that Rose would be accepting an MVP award and thanking them for putting the team together.
We never would’ve guessed it, so how did we get here?
After many floundering seasons following the departure of the dream team of the late 90s, Chicago fans weren’t quite sure of what direction the organization was headed. Until Paxson and Forman gave us the gift of a 6-11 center with crazy hair, big smile and a bowtie.
On June 28, 2007 Joakim Noah was selected in the first round of the NBA draft and the compilation of this year’s team had officially begun. Reporters, analysts and fans alike knew that the athletic, strong and passionate Florida Gator would be a great addition to the struggling Bulls organization. What they didn’t know is that they would be able to develop a top team around him, especially as fast as they did.
The next and perhaps the most pivotal piece of the puzzle fell into place in the following year’s draft when Derrick Rose was selected first pick overall, returning to his hometown after spending a year playing for Memphis.
With a strong center and a couple of talented point guards on the roster, the real team building began two years later, in the summer of 2010.
In a matter of 34 days from July to August of that summer, Paxson and Forman teamed up to bring in Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson and Keith Bogans.
Since then, the Bulls have had an extremely successful year, to say the least. Their 62-20 record was the best in the league and they have a promising playoff outlook.
Now there’s just one more trophy the Bulls would like to get.