The Los Angeles Clippers head coach, Vinny Del Negro‘s contract is up at the end of June and after a disappointing end to the Clippers’ postseason. All of the great things that Del Negro has done for the franchise have been long forgotten. It’s probable, the Clippers’ long known for suffering because they’re just super cheap, will elect to let Del Negro go because they don’t want to pay him the price he can justify asking for. Regardless of everything, Del Negro proved he can coach, especially in the early season and the Clippers should aim to re-sign him.
On Friday, the Clippers lost in Game 6 to the Memphis Grizzlies. Some questionable coaching decisions were made, such as, why wasn’t Jamal Crawford used more and better? Would it have been better for Blake Griffin to come into the game for Lamar Odom instead of DeAndre Jordan? Even if Del Negro didn’t make the best rotations, his coaching didn’t cost the Clippers the game.
Bill Simmons pointed out that during Game 6:
It would be a stretch to pin the game, or even the series on Del Negro. He tried everything and then some. Of course, he’s made bad decisions but he’s also made great ones. Crawford turned out to be one of the best finds of the free agency period last summer.
And, it’s not like Gregg Popovich or Phil Jackson are hanging out, waiting by the phone and hoping the Clippers will call.
Would replacing Del Negro with a coach like Stan Van Gundy even be a step up? Del Negro made every adjustment he could have throughout the season. He found a way to make sure that 15 players found minutes with still making sure the team won. If Del Negro wouldn’t made the adjustments and rotations he did all year, he would never have found out that his last guys off the bench like Ryan Hollins or Matt Barnes could do what they did turned out to be capable of doing. Barnes was signed at the veteran’s minimum to appease Chris Paul.
During the Sprint Halftime show a couple of games back, Charles Barkley said that when the Clippers lose, they blame Del Negro but when they win, they credit themselves and Del Negro is forgotten about.
The Clippers started the season out in a manner that suggested they were better than they actually were and it gave false hope about the way the season could turn out for them. The 17 – 0 start to the season gave the impression that the Clippers were capable of going further than they actually were.
They needed another piece; they needed the Kevin Garnett trade to go down. The Clippers were in the weakest division in the Western Conference, so they won a lot of division games.
Barnes protected Del Negro, telling Joan Niesen of FoxSports West via twitter:
T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times wrote an article in early April that the Clippers had issues. His report echoed what Barnes told Niesen. But the Clippers have always had issues, with Del Negro or without Del Negro. Despite it all, he helped bring home 56 wins. And he’s the last person to get credit for them.