Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

December 28, 2009

Guess who’s (still) coaching the Bulls

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bradford Doolittle @ 8:26 pm

The unsourced, speculative stories that are so prevalent in today’s media, especially of the online variety, drive me up a freaking wall. If anyone were to keep a scorecard on the accuracy rate of the rumor mill, I’d guess that about 95 percent of these types of reports turn out to be absolute b.s. Such is my interpretation of the current report being circulated suggesting that the Bulls have already decided to fire head coach Vinny Del Negro. Only one outlet has reported this; countless others have spread the story. The Chicago papers finally gave in and acknowledged the report, but also were unable to independently confirm it, which is a big, fat red flag.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Del Negro is going to be fired. I don’t know when it will be, but I think it will happen. I’ve been sitting on an analysis of that situation for about three weeks because I wrote it as an obit and expected the ax to fall any day. I’ve decided to put the piece up this week because I want to go on record about what sort of coach the Bulls should not be in the market for and there is no telling how long this saga is going to drag.

After beating New Orleans on Saturday, the Bulls are actually tied for the last playoff spot with Charlotte in the embarrassingly weak Eastern Conference. With Tyrus Thomas’ return, Del Negro has his full complement of players for the first time since early November and his recent lineup juggle (Hinrich/Gibson in; Salmons/Miller out) seems to be paying dividends. If the Bulls were to finish strong and win, say, 45 games (that’d be a 34-20 finish which is unlikely), Del Negro could save himself. I don’t think that’ll happen because I think he’s in over his head as an NBA coach. It’s not his fault — there was nothing on his resume that should have merited him getting the job in the first place. However, the Bulls need to move on to a coach with more clearly defined brand of basketball and more experience (as in having some) in working with a young roster. Del Negro … he can take an assistant coaching position somewhere and learn the trade the right way.

I don’t guess that most sports consumers care about the editorial standards governing sports reporters. If they did, rumor mongering would not be such a surefire generator of Web traffic. It’s sad to me, but I guess I’m a dinosaur in that regard. But as for Del Negro, here’s what we know. The Bulls practiced at the Berto Center on Monday and Del Negro was there with whistle in hand. At tomorrow’s shootaround, it’ll be the same story. Del Negro will be on the bench tomorrow night when the Bulls take on Indiana. That’s all we know right now. Has he already been fired? All evidence is to the contrary.

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