The Chicago Bulls fans are not easy to satisfy and former NBA player and Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro knows it better than most people.
Del Negro coached the Bulls two years to consecutive 41-win seasons. Despite making the playoffs in his first two years, Del Negro was substituted with Tom Thibodeau in 2010.
Speaking with David Kaplan on ESPN-1000′s “Kap & Co.”, he addressed the Bulls’ shortcomings.
“They tried to change their identity, and that takes time,” Del Negro said. “They went from being a defensive identity team.”
“You know the last year, I was there, my second year, we were third in the league in defensive field goal percentage. Then, Tom came in and continued that trend. The roster got deeper. All of a sudden, the Derrick [Rose] injuries started, but the identity was defense. Now, they’ve gone to try and score the basketball at a high clip, but you’ve seen their defense slip and so [has] the consistency factor, building an identity as to how you want to play,” said Del Negro.
Del Negro, who works for NBA-TV and ESPN as a basketball analyst, said that in defense of the Bulls, injuries have likely set back Hoiberg’s plans.
He went on to add that the team has made certain changes to become an offensive team.
“The Bulls try to change who they were,” Del Negro said. “You don’t put Mirotic into the lineup to become a better defensive team. You’re putting him in there to be more of a stretch-four to go with the pace and space mentality of all the NBA teams. Let’s up our possessions. Let’s play more bench. Let’s take some minutes off some guys. Well, they have a deeper bench and they can do that now. But that hasn’t always been the case.”
Del Negro played 12 seasons in the NBA, playing for Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns. He appeared in total of 771 games (370 started), averaging 9.1 ppg, 3.2 apg and 2.3 rpg in 24.9 mpg.
Del Negro’s post-NBA career includes one stint as an executive with the LA Clippers, as well as 5-year coaching experience with the Clippers and Chicago Bulls.
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