Before last season, Vinny Del Negro had never coached on any level and it showed at times. He made several rookie mistakes — particularly late in games — and I pointed out many of them.
But Del Negro also did a lot of things right last season. I was especially impressed with the way he worked with the team’s young players and got them to improve as the season went along. He did a very good job getting Derrick Rose ready to play from the start of the season and also had a positive effect on Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas.
Fans don’t get a chance to see a coach work with players in practice, so I can understand why most Bulls fans had a negative opinion of Del Negro. All they saw were the games and there were too many mistakes to have any other opinion.
I know it’s just the preseason, but I’ve noticed a change in Del Negro so far. The year of experience seems to have made a big difference. He’s more confident and isn’t as defensive. He’s been very organized and the team got a lot accomplished in the first two weeks of camp. Barring any major injuries over the next three weeks, the Bulls should be prepared for a fast start in the regular season.
Although the ultimate test of Del Negro’s improvement will come when he’s involved in a tight game in the regular season, I think Bulls fans will be pleasantly surprised this season. I’m not saying Del Negro will be the second coming of Phil Jackson, but he knows the game, has a sound philosophy and I believe he will be a good NBA coach.