Saturday, January 3, 2009
He's a rookie, right? I mean a real rookie, not like Derrick Rose is a rookie. Derrick Rose has an advantage over VDN: He has actually played basketball before. Vinny has not coached ever at any level. He is a rookie of rookies.
If we remember back to the summer, the Bulls logic for hiring him seemed sound enough. They claimed he was young but had always wanted to coach. He had been around basketball his whole life and understood the game. Working in Phoenix he had absorbed some of the D'Antoni philosophy of run and gun, but still believed in defensive principles. He was well-respected throughout the league and that would translate to respect from his players. Pax would also surround him with experienced assistants like Del Harris and Bernie Bickerstaff who would give a veteran coaching presence.
It didn't quite turn out like that. This latest fiasco in the Cleveland game proves that he has completely lost control of his players. When Nocioni started screaming at Noah in front of all the fans and TV cameras, it finally became clear. But the real question is why did this happen and can there be redemption, or is Vinny just overmatched?
Ok I will give you my answer. He is overmatched. The players, while they are at fault for sucking in terms of talent, brains, and even heart, a person needs to be inspired to play. They need to believe in the system they are playing in. You don't hear guys on the Celtics saying they want to speed the game up. They believe in what they are doing, because it is successful. If I was on the Bulls right now, I wouldn't believe in Vinny's system at all, and as a result I might get frustrated. I'm not saying I would quit on the Coach, nor do I think any of the players have...yet.
Offensively we don't have a system. The offense is basically to have Gordon, Rose, or..gulp..Hughes bring the ball up, dribble around and take a shot. A few screens here and there, but no real plan. One could argue that the Bulls haven't developed a cohesive halfcourt offense but they are relying on getting fast break baskets. Well then why does Vinny have good running players on the bench? Aaron Gray and Joakim Noah are not going to get us fast break points. Don't even get me started on Vinny's defensive philosophy which I have yet to figure out. As of now it looks something like "don't play hard or rotate on time" or better yet "you don't have to know how to rotate, just make sure you get your shots on the other end". His rotations and lineups make the least sense. It is unclear to players what they need to do to earn minutes. Beyond Rose, no one knows their role on the team. A person can't be effective in that kind of environment.
I mean Vinny is very green and this may be unfair. Like a rookie in any environment, you have to know there is going to be a learning curve. I think Bulls fans and players were hoping to at least see some signs that he could coach by now though. He has shown nothing and the players are clearly losing faith in him. The fans will be next.
Will Vinny save himself? I don't know, but I think the domain name for firevinnydelnegro.com is still available. I'm just saying.