Vinny Del Negro's Best Skill: Holding The Chicago Bulls Back

Tab BamfordSenior Writer IOctober 28, 2009

BOSTON - APRIL 28:  Head coach Vinny Del Negro of the Chicago Bulls reacts to a call in the first half against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on April 28, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

In my humble, almost 30-year-old opinion, Vinny Del Negro is among the very worst head coaches/managers any Chicago team has employed in my lifetime.

Former White Sox skipper Terry Bevington will take that prize until a blind man gets the job. He infamously walked to the mound to remove a pitcher once and called for a right handed reliever; there wasn't a righty warming up. Oops.

Also in the club is former Bulls coach Tim Floyd. He wasn't nearly as effective in the NBA, where the players are already getting millions, as he was paying the kids' parents as a college coach.

The Cubs would have their own class photo, with guys like Jim Lefebvre  making an appearance. Tom Trebblehorn was pretty miserable, too.

The Bears have thrown mediocrity at Chicago, and they brought their cliche dictionary with them. It's too bad Dave Wannstredt never had enough time to get all the pieces in place to be a decent football team.

But there's a painful difference between all of these loser coaches and Del Negro: They, at least publicly, acted and said things that made you believe they believed they could win.

Not only does Del Negro look like a cheap used car salesman most nights, but now it appears he doesn't know better than to admit, days before the season begins, that he has limited confidence in his team.

Let's take a step back to last season. The Bulls won the top pick in the draft and brought Derrick Rose home to energize the organization and give Chicago a jersey worth buying. Rose showed flashes of being every bit of an elite point guard, and won the Rookie of the Year Award.

The Bulls made the playoffs in the first season of the Rose-Del Negro Era, and gave the defending champion Celtics everything they could handle in an historic first-round series. Rose was one of the highlights of that series, taking his game and the team to a level of play not seen since a guy named Michael left town.

But throughout last season, and even in the playoffs, Del Negro showed that he doesn't belong anywhere near the bench of an NBA team. He regularly sat Rose during crucial stretches of important games, especially in the fourth quarter, and used his timeouts as poorly as is humanly possible.

And yet Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah, and Rose all played well enough that Bulls fans could honestly believe that the young, talented nucleus on this team could make some noise in the Eastern Conference.

If there's a person in the Bulls organization that's earned limited, if not shaky, confidence, it's Del Negro.

Then came Tuesday morning, when Del Negro made the obligatory morning sports talk show appearances to talk about the coming season. On the team's flagship station, ESPN 1000, he spent a few moments on the "Waddle and Silvy" show, sharing his thoughts on his team and the upcoming schedule.

At one point during the conversation, Del Negro rhetorically asked the hosts, former Chicago Bears receiver Tom Waddle and Mark Silverman, "Well, I agree with that, but do you think we're ready to win a championship with all these young guys?"

The statement dumbfounded me in my car as much as it did the radio hosts, who couldn't believe that Del Negro was going out on the radio and saying his Bulls team, about to begin a new season, weren't good enough to win it all.

So much for team goals.

Del Negro would go on to offer up other eyebrow raising nuggets like "Statistically at the end of games last year, Derrick [Rose] wasn't our best player," and "I think [getting off to a strong start to the season is] way overblown, to be completely honest with you,"


So the man in charge of getting the fire back in the NBA Dynasty of the '90s went on record in saying that his team isn't good enough to win a championship, his most talented player wasn't good enough to play in close games last year, and how the team starts the season doesn't matter.

Talk about the anti-Phil Jackson.

Have I mentioned that he looks like a retired porn star on the sidelines?

My concern as a Bulls fan is that this is the guy shaping the beginning of Rose's career. Rose has shown the world that he has every skill and can make any play, including taking over big games (ask Rajon Rondo), but as long as this idiot is on the bench, how far can Rose take the Bulls?

According to his coach, it won't be to the championship.