Chicago Sun-Times

Rivers offers support for Del Negro

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With Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro facing intense criticism and calls for his job, it was perhaps fitting that the Boston Celtics were in town Saturday night. No one knows what Del Negro is going through more than Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

A year before Boston won its 17th NBA title in 2008, Rivers was under fire and there were numerous calls for him to be fired after the Celtics went 24-58, including an 18-game losing streak.

"I've been there; I know how that feels," Rivers said. "When you don't win, you get criticism. Unfortunately, that's the way it is. The younger you are as a coach the more it is. If it was a veteran coach, he probably would get a grace period.

"Unfortunately, Vinny's not getting that and he should but he's not. He'll weather the storm, hopefully."

Rivers and Del Negro are former teammates and friends, so Rivers isn't exactly an objective observer, but he believes the criticism of Del Negro is unwarranted.

"I believe this will work out for him," Rivers said. "I know what he can do. I coached against him last year in the playoffs. I just hope he gets the chance to do it."

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7 Comments

Well what did you expect? Does anyone think Doc was going to say Vinny sucks and has no business on the bench? Ofcourse not. The win over GS Friday night was a struggle and last night Boston came out in the 3rd quarter put the Bulls away in the first 5 minutes of the period. You can say that it's the players responsibility to play and score all you want BUT it's the coaches responsibility to motivate players and have them ready to play 48 minutes of competitive ball. Aparently Vinny is not doing his job in that area. But I guess firing him before Tuesdays game with the Lakers would be a little unfair to Bickerstaff or whomever would replace him. Another embarressing blowout Tuesday though should bring down the curtain on the VDN era.

John, in your column today, you say replacing Vinny during the season would not bring dramatic results. I would suggest that if Vinny is not gone before the end of the season and a legit head coach is not inplace prior to the free agent fest of 2010, all the posturing for salary cap space is useless.

Hey there, Tim. Fancy meeting you here now that FCP has disintegrated, huh? The S-T pulled the plug on FCP so quickly that I didn’t even get a chance to pay my final respects. Wow, that was kinda cold I thought on their part. Anyway, I’ll cut to the chase here.. I’m with Tim Little all the way regarding Vinny. It IS obvious that Doc would defend Vinny. I don’t see how his thoughts add to any comfort zone about Vinny as head coach long term. Not that I’m wishing the Bulls to lose games in order for Vinny to get fired, but the victory over Golden State only adds to delaying the inevitable. Management and ownership are only embarrassing themselves every time the Bulls continue to get blown out by the good teams. Unfortunately, they will continue to string this out as far as they can to see if the team can manage something positive, whether a “morale victory” over the Lakers or win 2 out of the next 3 games and boast progress to the faithful fans!

Bottom line, I also read JJ’s column today and I think what should be understood is that some of us already understand that we are NOT expecting dramatic or immediate results. It’s about Vinny able to coach and lead this team to a Championship one day LONG TERM. Many diehard faithful already know that this is basically a lost season in preparation for the so-called 2010 free agency sweepstakes. You see, this is not a knee-jerk reaction to the Bulls recently losing games by large margins. Hiring a head coach with no experience should never have been done in the first place! All this does is prompt the “I told you so’s” and I don’t want to do that here. I just want the team to get better and I don’t feel that Vinny is the answer long term. All Vinny appears to be doing as head coach right now is saving his job rather than trying to establish a team identity around the new core of younger players. The blame here certainly falls head and shoulders on the management/ownership team, GarPaxDorf themselves! Sad to say, but Vinny has to be the fall guy since they can’t or won’t fire themselves anyway. JJ mentioned that part of the problem is Tyrus Thomas not playing, but he was already in Vinny’s doghouse long before he went on the disabled list dating all the way back to the Celtics playoff series last season. Fix the problem now or risk further damage to the organization’s integrity and reputation. Not that good ole J.R. gives a hoot to what the average fan thinks, but isn’t that why someone like Bernie Bickerstaff or Del Harris at the time was brought in just in case the Vinny experiment didn’t work out? Well, Bickerstaff has been with the team all this time anyway and he’s the man with actual NBA head coaching experience so why wouldn’t he be a good enough “interim” replacement for Vinny right now? IMO, I think that’s a much better chance to salvage at least respectability to the season than sticking with the Vinny experiment. I said this before, but the day Vinny was hired should have been the day the organization ADMITTED to the average Bulls fan that they were in a rebuilding mode, but noooooo, they continue this false sense of playoff hope and title contention so that they can continue to keep their season ticket count up and respectable average attendance figures at the United Center and now this, just a mockery of embarrassing losses.

Hey Edgar! Yea it left me flat footed like Ben Gordon trying to guard Wade's crossover. I didn't even get a change to seliver a eulogy lol. Well maybe some of the regulars will drift over here and become a family again. Just wish we didn't hafta go thru that security thingy to post it's a pain in the butt.

First and foremost, Mr. Rivers should know that at least half the folks that post on this blog can coach this Celtics team to a title, they're just that good on THEIR OWN!

Second, I give Vinny the break, and management all the blame. Del Negro should never have been in this position in the first place!

There was a great article today in the STs about "what if" Kobe had become a Bull.

I seriously, dont think I have been the same since we blew that trade.

A eulogy with blaring trumpets, Tim? haha R.I.P. Full Court Press. Another blowout loss for the Bulls against the Lakers tonight might possibly prompt you another crack at a eulogy for VDN's long term head coaching aspirations? Knowing GarPaxDorf though, if the Bulls "only" lose by 10-15 pts tonight, someone will come out spinning the "100% effort and that's all you can ask for..." cliche as an excuse for Bulls progress.

I don't like the "security" thing either, Tim. JJ, is it possible to remove the Captcha option? We didn't have to do it in FCP. I bet you'd get much more blog participation without the Captcha, that is, unless you guys don't really care for blogging and just writing the columns. Hmmm.

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This page contains a single entry by John Jackson published on December 12, 2009 8:32 PM.

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