Case for Cutting Vinny Del Negro Just Overwhelming



By Paul M. Banks

Beating the lowly Knicks at home is not a job-saver. I’m not here to talk about Vinny Del Negro’s lack of coaching acumen or lack of coaching effort. It’s been well documented elsewhere. I’m more focused on trying to find out what the true tipping point will be.

My two favorite examples have Vinny criticism come from

1. The Book of Basketball by divine orator Bill Simmons. On the topic of NBA coaches (p. 146)

You have your top guys-usually three or four a year- and everyone else ranges between functional, overrated, replaceable, incompetent, “my God, what a train wreck, and Vinny Del Negro.

2. A must-read SB Nation piece rating the “Watchability” of all 30 NBA teams. Take a big, fat guess what spot the Bulls are in.

There is no organized “offense,” just Rose dribbling around the perimeter and Luol Deng and John Salmons shooting contested 20-footers (the worst shot in pro basketball).  Rookie forward Taj Gibson is lauded for being cerebral, which should tell you something about his entertainment value.  It’s the classic case of a team who is so much worse than the sum of its parts.

(Though it is funny to watch Vinny Del Negro’s “coaching” in action. “We missed a couple of freethrows, they got a couple of offensive rebounds, we missed a couple of shots! NO BIG DEAL!!”

Pretty much sums it up. But in addition to those opinions, here’s the resume of facts that mean Vinny’s days are numbered, and diminishing:

-Losing at home to the 1-19 Nets

-Since starting 6-4, the Bulls have a record of 3-11, with 5 of those losses by 20 pts. or more, 3 more were by more than 15. They haven’t been just losing, they’ve been losing bad.

-When Ben Gordon returned, he was booed viciously by the United Center crowd. Rather unjustly when you considered BG wanted to stay and was never a major problem in Chicago; unlike the man standing next to him on his new team, also named Ben. The crowd didn’t get on Ben Wallace, who was a dysfunctional malcontent as a Bull, and whose abysmal lack of production made his 4 year, $64 million contract absolutely criminal. Now it’s not Vinny’s fault that most of the Bulls fans attending that night were utterly clueless morons, but it is his place as a leader to say something. And he said absolutely nothing about it. Now he didn’t have to address it, but if he were to show any type of leadership within the organization, and display any type of clout that he might possess, it was his time to do it. 

-Play-calling, or lack thereof. Seriously, watch a game and see how man guys in suits at the end of the bench are doing something in terms of calling out sets and motions. Vinny? Nothing. He’s never active and looks as far from the action as possible.

-The International Shoe-tying Incident

You heard all about this one, Toronto’s Jarret Jack stopping while running an offensive set to tie his shoe. In the middle of a game where his disappointment of a team routed Chicago by 30+. A blatant show of disrespect. My Coach Vinny’s response:

“That’s not acceptable,” he said. “But it was a unique situation where we were in a mismatch and Lu had turned his back. He didn’t see it. Otherwise, he would’ve been up on the ball.”

So in other words, your players were so lost on defense, and confused about their assignments that Jack was able to pull an unintentional publicity stunt like this?

Bulls Del Negro

Why, it’s Christmas Eve

Perhaps the worst coach in franchise history, Tim Floyd resigned (forcibly) on Christmas Eve 2001. Former coach Scott Skiles was fired on Christmas Eve 2007. Is another Dickensian front office move just days away? Maybe. Former GM John Paxson got kicked upstairs and now he’s not directly in the line of fire when people start clamoring for a front office shakeup. His record as GM was mixed at best. As for the guy who replaced him, Gar Forman, the jury is still out on his performance. I wonder how many decisions he’s really making; without Pax’s input. I’m sure they both know Vinny is so awful that he gives the word awful a horrible reputation. I’m sure they regret the Del Negro hiring worse than the Ben Wallace signing. It’s a great argument right now: which front office was worse?

However, where are they going to go? They’re in this mess partially because they prematurely announced Doug Collins as their new retread coach, and when that didn’t pan out, they had to go down-market and end up with a guy with zero experience. So they especially need to take their time and get somebody solid lined up for the next hire. Interims are interims and nothing more (Just look at Jim Boylan). So why not have Paxson come down from the suites and coach the team the rest of the year? He’s a passionate guy who bleeds Bulls red. Let him steer the sinking ship that he himself built.

The Bulls desperately need a change, and they also need to show the highly heralded free agent class of 2010 that Chicago is a first class destination for them. It won’t appear that way as long as Vinny is calling the shots.

But in case this whole disappointment of a season and lame duck coach has you in a bad mood, here’s a video of the Luvabulls dancing to cheer you up:

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