NBA / Dec 10, 2009 / 5:01 pm

The Bulls Are Struggling And Vinny Del Negro Will Be The Scapegoat

Vinny Del Negro

It was just last April when the Chicago Bulls were pushing the defending champion Celtics to the limit during the first round of the 2009 Playoffs. Though they lost in seven games, the Bulls were looking like a team on the rise and Derrick Rose was looking like the league’s next superstar. Not even seven months later, the Bulls are a mediocre team that’s six games under .500. They’ve dropped 9 of their last 10 games, seven of those losses have been by 10 or more points.

Last night in Atlanta, they were handed a 35 point beating courtesy of the Hawks. The blowout comes at a bad time for coach Vinny Del Negro, who has been rumored to be on the hot seat for the past week.

“I don’t worry about that. I really don’t,” Del Negro told reporters prior to the game against the Hawks. “I go to work every day, doing the best and trying to develop these guys. Those are questions for [general manager] Gar [Forman], [team president John Paxson] and [owner] Jerry Reinsdorf.

Like most team’s that struggle, the blame tends to fall on the coach first. Even though the team has had injury issues since training camp, they’ve got enough talent on that roster to be better than their 7-13 record suggests. Many people have speculated that the team has already given up on Del Negro.

The team’s effort, especially on the defensive end has undoubtedly been bad and they’ve also given up a lot of offensive boards to opponents. In a loss against Toronto last week, the team gave up 18 offensive rebounds and were out-boarded by 21.

But if their defense has been bad, their offense has been even worse. They’ve struggled to put points on the board (they are 28th in the league in scoring) and a lot of the people they’ve counted on for scoring like Rose, Jannero Pargo, John Salmons and James Johnson have not delivered. Looking back in hindsight, re-signing Ben Gordon wouldn’t have been such a bad idea.

With the Celtics, Lakers and the Hawks (again) on their schedule for the next week-and-a-half, things aren’t looking good for Del Negro’s job. The pressure on management to appease angry fans is at an all-time high right now to fire him. Del Negro’s margin of error in these upcoming games is minimal.

Is it fair the Bulls are most likely going to show Del Negro the door in the next week or two? Is it his fault Kirk Hinrich and Tyrus Thomas got hurt? Is it his fault Salmons regressed and nobody on his team can really shoot? No, but the coach is always blamed and that’s just the nature of the beast in pro sports.

Does Del Negro deserve to be fired?

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  • http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/ProphetGK ProphetGK

    Can’t blame Del Negro, unfortunately that is the case.. they people to step up, and Rose to be Rose again..

  • GoEasy

    hmmm, so T-Mac second in allstar voting for guards in the west?

  • GoEasy

    hmmm, so T-Mac second in voting for guards in the west?

  • Tim

    Looks like they miss Ben Gordon more than they thought.

  • dmitry of jersey

    management has done a terrible job in Chicago. TT over LMA, signing deng instead of ben gordon, hiring Del Negro in the first place, not finding a way to trade for Pau Gasol or KG….. THEY should be fired

  • fallinup

    Vinny can thank Rose’s kick ass rookie season that he’s kept his job this long. He’s a horrible coach… of course teams are gonna get wise to the one play he calls up for EVERY DAMN PLAY. (Give it to Rose at the top of the key and let him dribble.)

    I doubt Del Negro even calls defensive schemes. He’s lucky to have a job this long.

  • IG

    Deng needs baseline screens with a pass first PG (like Calderon). Salmons is best at isolation plays. Noah/TT/B.Miller don’t have three point range. That means the only play (D.Rose top of the key) won’t work because pieces don’t fit. Who constructed this team?

  • LakeShow84

    Thats weak that McGrady is second in AllStar voting..

    That system needs to be overhauled.. and then it would be fair as well.. popularity is one of the major problems in the NBA right now..

  • Cha-Ching

    Hiring Vinny was odd from the start. He had zero experience. Questionable if he could motive players. The coaching staff last year only got by cause of Del Harris. He retired at the end of the season. All I can remember is him using all his time outs early in the Celtics series. Could have won the series if it wasn’t for some coaching mistakes. Luck, Ben Gordon, no KG, and the other players being motived by Ben Gordon made the series entertaining.

  • http://www.petsocietyhelp.com Pet Society Help

    This is just another example of the white man trying to put del negro down.

  • http://www.petsocietyhelp.com Pet Society Help

    The only thing Vinny Del Negro is known for is teaching Kenny Smith the free throw line, facing the opposite basket, bounce between the legs dunk when they were teammates in Sacremento.

  • rick773

    @ Cha-Ching It’s motivated but I digress. Is it all Vinny’s fault absolutely not. But he still stinks as a head coach and scoffs any time his decision making is called in to play, and if you get upset over something as small as that you won’t make coaching any team let alone a market like Chicago.

  • Mueze

    Seriously I love you guys at dime, but you are flat wrong in this case. Vinny is an awful coach who had no prior experience. The offense and defensive schemes he draws up are elementary. The bulls one last year with D-Rose doing what he does, and BG chuckin’ not any work by Vinny. With BG gone, teams are game planning for Rose and we are stuck, and VInny can’t figure it out. I can’t really produce you statistics or other relevant information because it’s 1:41 a.m., but c’mon man watch the games please and you’ll see it. He is the most under qualified head coach, and quite possibly the worst in the NBA. We knew Pippen wasn’t going to get hired as coach when he first said he wanted to coach the bulls because he had no experience, then they hire this joker who was scouting for Phx, and had no coaching experience at any level.

  • Mueze

    won* not one. Sorry, I’m tired.

  • facepalm

    They need to get rid of Pax as well. Pax hasn’t been able to turn things around, and he hired Gar Foreman, who is a puppet and glorified fall guy if the anger from the press and fans ever reaches the management level. Pax has disappointed and been unable to find consistency, and will probably never bring this team to the glory level it was once at. If he can’t land anyone in 2010, then the heat should be turned on, and he should be fired as they continue to flounder. Bears and Bulls need changes from GM to Coach (ownership too), sucks to be a fan in Chicago.

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla


    The main reason he should be fired is because the offense that he runs and the player personnel decisions. Running a pick-n-pop is great when it’s Brad Miller…not so great when it’s Joakim Noah. The starting center (Noah) is left at the top of the key trying to make plays with his less than stellar passing. Basically the bulls run this play all game long. It takes the ball out of our playmakers hands and puts the ball in the hands of guys who can’t make a play to save their life (Noah and Taj Gibson).

    Player decisions? Did anyone else notice Tyrus Thomas not playing during the Celtics series last may? Hell all last year for that matter! Look at the guys per/min averages. His 2blks a game should have kept him in for at least 35min a game vs. the Celts in the playoff run to help stop Glen Davis, Perkins, Rondo, and Pierce from scoring points in the paint. Vinny instead went with Noah and Miller who were busy getting bullied by Perk and Davis and did not have the timing or hops to block Rondo or Pierce.

    I feel bad for Vinny, but he should never have taken the job knowing damn well he has no idea what to do. Not to mention he HAS NO TIES to the Bulls organization at all, so I don’t see him caring too much about the losing. He was in it for himself, to make himself look good. Had Avery Johnson, Rick Carlisle, or Doug Collins been the coach, the Bulls would be a top 5 team in the east now, and would have surpassed Miami last year for the 4/5th seed.

    Vinny is not a bad guy, but he isn’t getting the short end of the stick… hell he was allowed to look like a great coach on the surface by taking the bulls to a 7game series vs. the Celts. That was all on the players, and not too much thanks to Vinnie’s coaching decisions.

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    @IG, wtf are you talking about.

    “Deng needs baseline screens with a pass first PG (like Calderon).”

    Deng is a slasher without the ball. His mid-Range shot is deadly, but the year he scored 19pts a game was because he slashed to the basket WITHOUT the ball and got lay-ups. Then that set up his jump-shot. Derrick is a Passing PG, hell the coaches/players/and fans are begging him to SHOOT MORE (although i don’t agree with that).

    “Noah/TT/B.Miller don’t have three point range. ”

    Noah isn’t a shooter i’ll give you that, and Tyrus is just decent, Brad Miller on the other hand has range to the 3 point line, hence the reason he is able to do that head fake and drive on every big because they are afraid of his jumper. And WHY THE HELL does a Center or Power forward need 3point range?

    “That means the only play (D.Rose top of the key) won’t work because pieces don’t fit.”

    Not true, D.Rose at the top of the key is THE ONLY PLAY THAT WORKS for the Bulls right now. DRose has a reliable jumper and the ability to get into the lane at will. The pick-n-pop plays don’t work when it’s Noah because he should be ROLLING to the basket. Thats all coaching.

    Watch the games before you make comments. Don’t base it off of what you can/can’t do on NBA 2k.

  • Marques

    As a long time Bulls fan, I never understood the hiring of Del Negro in the first place either. The Bulls have made some terrible choices in the draft and have traded or let go of some good players. They lost Ron Artest, Elton Brand, Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry(maybe not him), Ben Gordon. The list goes on and on. They need to clear some space and go after DWade next year. They have their point guard already in Rose, they have a SF in Deng, but they need to use him right. They need a young beast in the front who can just do damage in the paint and get a legit scorer like DWade in there. Hinrich is a perfect player to come off the bench and he doesn’t mind it. But they need a damn coach that can help them win some games.

  • BiG ShoT BoB

    Here’s my wish list if I was the Bulls GM. They’re number one priority should be a big man that can bang and score points down low. Someone in the Shaq mold. Hell even bringing Ed Curry back would command double teams provided he was in shape. Think about the year Isaiah ran the offense through him. Only thing wrong with that is it would take away Roses strenghts which is slashing to the basket or making plays in transition. For this kind of in-out system to work you need great shooters on the perimiter which the Bulls don’t have.

    But if you want to utilize Derricks strengths they need to bring in a 4 that can shoot and run the floor ala Dirk or Bosh. This brings the opposing teams bigs out of the paint opening up room for Rose to slash to the basket. But you still need a shooter on the wing for Rose to kick out to once the defense collapses.

    So to sum it up the Bulls need to go out and find a great shooter on the wing (salmons isn’t going to cut it) and a athletic big man that can run the floor and shoot. Put KG or Bosh on this team and they automatically jump into the 4th spot in the east.

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    @big shot bob,

    yes the bulls need a big. Chris Bosh works, but we need points in the paint and Bosh is too much of a jump shooter. What we really needed this past summer was to get Rasheed Wallace or Lamarcus Aldridge (who we drafted then traded). Guys that have deadly post games, but can extend the floor with a jumper if Derrick is Driving. Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudimire, Carlos Boozer all spend too much time on the perimeter.

    On the wing, last years version of John Salmons would be great, this years version has lost his jumper and can’t finish at the rim. But I would like the Bulls to get DWade…though that’s not likely. Joe Johnson would be the perfect pick-up because he can score, pass, creates mismatches and even post up. Though I doubt he’s leaving Atlanta.

    the Draft: The bulls need a new coach (Doug collins, Avery Johnson, Byron Scott) and should be looking for a Big man in the draft. Jerome Jordan, Derek Favors, and if not, the best player not named John Wall would be Evan Turner from Ohio State who is in the mold of Grant Hill/Penny Hardaway.

  • Rizwan

    @ Chicagorilla,

    LMA is a jump shooter!! Rasheed USED to be post up player but nwo he thinks he’s Peja back when he was good!

    Give you that they need a big man in the draft.

  • meica

    Why isn’t Avrey Johnson coaching right now? Still don’t believe the Bulls passed him by. sigh.