Over the last couple of weeks, Vinny Del Negro and John Paxson have been going at it over Derrick Rose’s 4th quarter minutes. Vinny had been keeping Rose on the bench in crucial late-game situations and Paxson was upset. Before I go any farther, I think it’s obvious to 99% of people that Paxson is right in this argument. Derrick Rose is the future of this team and regardless of whether Hinrich is better defensively (he hasn’t been the last year and a half), Rose should be getting the valuable experience in late game situations.
That being said, did Paxson handle this situation correctly? Here were his very public comments the other day on WMVP-1000 radio:
“I’ve talked to Vinny about this. And our future is Derrick. There’s no secret of that. There are times that I personally feel – and Vinny knows this – that I feel he should be on the floor at the end of games.”
Once Paxson went public, Vinny was backed into a corner and felt obligated to respond:
“That’s between us,” Del Negro said of his near-daily conversations with Paxson. “I’ll make decisions on the team on what I see fit for players and when they should play and when they don’t. I know my players better than anybody. Derrick is going to be out there in the fourth quarter. Everyone is going to be held accountable defensively. If I feel there’s an advantage for us to do certain things in the fourth quarter, those are the decisions I have to make as a head coach. And I’ll make them.”
Why was it necessary to throw Vinny under the bus like that to the media? Couldn’t this have been worked out without taking it public? An organization should be like an ethnic family; bickering constantly behind closed doors but putting up a united front to the rest of the world.
Coming off a regime where the coach, Skiles, apparently had a tight clamp on everything and was basically in charge, I can see how Pax would want to exert his control now that he has it back. Doing it in the media is not the way to do it, however.
One last thing: If Paxson wasn’t just being an idiot, did he have another motive? Is he trying to make Vinny look bad to set up the inevitable firing that everyone knows is in the cards? It doesn’t seem necessary since everyone thinks Vinny is a moron anyways, but maybe this is the beginning of the end. We can only hope…