The Bulls dropped another winnable game after a dismal fourth quarter in New Jersey, but the real story is what took place after the game. The players were visibly upset with the team’s performance and openly questioned the tactics employed during the game’s final minutes. After the two previous coaches were run out of town, it appears as if a third might soon be on his way
Vinny Del Negro has been on the hot seat from the moment he finished his introductory press conference, due to his lack of coaching experience at any level. He was far from Chicago’s first choice, but after striking out on big names such as Mike D’Antoni and Doug Collins, the Bulls hired the last man standing.
The move was unpopular among fans, to say the least, but the Bulls brass did their best to support “their guy.” When the team stumbled through the opening months of the season, including losses to doormats such as Memphis, Oklahoma City, and Minnesota (twice) the Bulls were prepared with the typical string of excuses.
The circus trip makes it difficult to build confidence by getting off to a good start and injuries to “key players” (backup point guard Kirk Hinrich and Drew Gooden) prevented Vinny from establishing a regular rotation with defined roles for his players. With so many obstacles to overcome, how could anyone expect this team to succeed?
Fans didn’t buy it and, after the recent loss in New Jersey, it appears as if the players aren’t either. These guys have been playing the game for too long to overlook all of the coaching deficiencies they’ve witnessed, and they are no longer afraid to say it.
When asked what should've been done to stop Devin Harris from single handily beating the Bulls, Derrick Rose was quick to respond “Trap, that’s what I think when someone is going off like that, you should trap him. But we didn’t.”
The team’s leading scorer wasn’t happy either "We were doing stupid stuff the whole game and kind of shot ourselves in the foot," Gordon said. "Stupid shots, stupid decisions, stupid defense. We lost this one tonight, if you ask me."
Stupid defense? Bad defense could be the result of poor effort, lack of athleticism, or any number of faults that would land squarely on the shoulders of the players themselves, but stupid defense? Isn’t that the coach’s problem?
I, like many fans, have been calling for the removal of Del Negro for weeks. However, for the first time all season, the players are showing signs of frustration as well.
Could Vinny’s days be numbered?