In most walks of life, getting in a fight with your boss, generally being considered inadequate at your job and the laughingstock of your entire profession, then finally being mercilessly fired in a move that was long overdue would all mean you’re never hired by another company to fill the same position. In the NBA, it means you’re on the short list of potential candidates for any job opening in the next couple months.
Ask Vinny Del Negro. He went from being the biggest mockery in professional basketball only a couple months ago to now being mentioned for a few of the head coach openings left (including the Clippers and, should Doc Rivers retire, the Celtics). You probably already know this, but if Vinny Del Negro earns a head coaching job it will be a joke. Hell, it was a joke he earned one in the first place. If you showed up at a job interview in real life with Del Negro’s resume from a couple years ago, you would have been laughed out of the room. What kind of experience do you have? Umm, none. Do you have any sort of qualifications? Well, umm, I once played NBA Live in Franchise mode. What about recommendations? I’m, uh, friends with Steve Kerr?
After two seasons of bumbling his way to mediocrity, Del Negro’s resume is now probably even worse… yet he’s still being mentioned for almost every head coaching position still open. Huh?
When Del Negro was fired from the Bulls job, Kelly Dwyer wrote, “Vinny Del Negro was fired Tuesday — or last night, or last December — because he did a poor job of coaching the Chicago Bulls. His minute allotments were curious, his teams were wildly inconsistent and his outfits executed quite poorly on the offensive end. Also, Chicago was oftentimes less structured and efficient coming out of timeouts than it was heading into them, and any bit of player development can be more or less pegged on the expected growth you usually get from an athlete in his early 20s. He was not a good coach.”
To be fair, that wasn’t all Del Negro did during his tenure in Chicago. He also tended to run out of timeouts before the end of close games, once blew a 35-point lead (to the Kings, mind you), and proudly wore the haircut of an 11-year old boy. And oh yeah, there was also that time I mentioned earlier, when Del Negro got into a fight with his boss. That Del Negro’s teams got as far as they did (and getting to the first round of the NBA playoffs two years in a row, as a number seven and eight seed, isn’t a wonderful accomplishment by any stretch) wasn’t proof that Del Negro was a good coach — it was a miracle the Bulls were able to overcome their nitwit leader.
But now, the failed coach is probably going to get another opportunity to run a team. Not to say Del Negro doesn’t deserve another position, but, umm, he doesn’t at all deserve one. And if he does, if Vinny Del Negro gets an opportunity to try his hand a second time while qualified candidates like Brian Shaw remain assistants, whatever organization gives him another opportunity should be embarrassed. Unless it’s the Clippers — they’re well past shame already.