From Brian Hanley of the Chicago Sun-Times: “Bulls general manager John Paxson has made it clear to coach Vinny Del Negro that rookie point guard Derrick Rose should be on the court at the end of games. ‘I’ve talked to Vinny about this,’ Paxson said Saturday during the WMVP-AM (1000) broadcast of the Bulls’ 105-102 victory over Houston, in which Rose scored 16 of his team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter. ‘Our future is Derrick. That’s no secret. There are times that I feel — and Vinny knows this — that he should be on the floor at the end of games.'”
Finally! A voice of reason! Or common sense, anyway.
Paxson’s comments were likely a response to Vinny’s claim that benching Rose (in favor of Kirk Hinrich) was his to make as ”the decider.” Then, after the Bulls beat the Rockets — mostly ’cause Vinny didn’t bench Derrick in the fourth — Del Negro went on to say: “The thing with Derrick is people always tend to forget he’s a rookie. He does make mistakes. I have more confidence in Derrick than just about anybody. He’s been fantastic all year. You have to go with the peaks and valleys young players go through.”
Can you imagine if Paul Silas had benched LeBron James in several different fourth-quarter situations during the King’s rookie season…and then went on to defend it to the press? That would have gone over like taco filled with crawling insects. But then, Vinny’s a rookie, too. Which Pax was quick to point out: “We knew when we gave Vinny the job that he had never coached before, so he was going to make mistakes. And that’s the reason we gave him a very veteran staff, to help him organize practices and game situations. He has a very open mind about everything. Vinny’s a smart guy, and he has a lot of ideas. You can’t implement them all. … That will come as time goes on.”
I sure hope so. But the fact that the “veteran staff” didn’t step in (or did and were ignored) and the team’s GM had to step in and point out something so painfully obvious didn’t exactly boost my confidence — which was already shaky to begin with — in Vinny’s ability to guide this team into greatness. Or even pretty goodness. With each passing day, it gets harder and harder to envision Del Negro coaching this team next season.