Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Vinny Del Negro Finds 3-Guard Game Plan in Skiles Old Desk

Let's set the scene: The Bulls are struggling against a superior opponent. Luol Deng seems to have disappeared offensively, Tyrus and Joakim have been relegated to the bench for what seems like no reason. The Bulls trail by double digits (let's say 17). The Bulls coach, in desperation, goes to the 3-guard lineup to try to shake things up. Somehow, miraculously, the Bulls mount a comeback with this lineup that falls just short. Sound familiar? Yeah it happened the other night in Orlando, but it was also the modus operandi of the Bulls under Skiles the last few seasons as well. Though the Bulls got some positive results from that lineup, the coach thinks (or in Skiles case insists) that the smallball lineup is effective.

The only reason those lineups worked was because there was a specific matchup that favored it (against Orlando, Howard is the only true big man, Rashard and Hedo are perimeter guys), or if the Bulls were down by 20 playing against the other team's scrubs. Otherwise the 3-guard lineup does not work. It makes the Bulls, already a rebounding-challenged team, even more susceptible to getting outboarded.

What Vinny has yet to understand is that players need to know their roles and play in the position that allows them the most success. He needs to stop mixing up the lineups and experimenting. Thabo is not a pg or sg, he is only there for his defense. Nocioni should be coming off the bench as a spark in certain situations. Hinrich should not be at the 2 (though this is being proven wrong, Rose is somehow able to raise Kirk's effectiveness at the 2). Deng and Nocioni should not be playing power forward ever. Tyrus should never be at the small forward. All of those things put players out of their comfort zone.

Regardless of his opinion of the 3-guard lineup, he needs to let people know their roles and put them in the best position to win. The jury is still out on Vinny, but for now, his biggest job should be to set a rotation and stick with it.

One last slightly unrelated note: If there is a possession with the potential to win or tie the game at the end (down 1, 2, or 3 with less than 30 seconds), the ball needs to be in Rose's hands. Ben Gordon needs to understand his role on this team. It will benefit him as well, since he will likely get better looks than he would have, since Rose creates good shots for everyone around him. That shot he took at the end of the Magic game was ugggggggly.

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