Posted on: June 10, 2008 11:55 pm

Vinny Del Negro? Hold back the anger...

When I first heard the Bulls were going to hire Vinny Del Negro as their next head coach, I almost flipped. Heck, they already dragged the search on so far that I figured Tom Thibodeau might as well get a shot at an interview. At least he has experience on the bench, which is a place that will be new for Del Negro next season.

However, as the day went on, I started to think about it more and more. Now, the hiring doesn't look all that bad.

After Mike D'Antoni spurned the Bulls and signed with the Knicks on May 10th, any hire John Paxson made would have been viewed as less than stellar. D'Antoni and the young, athletic Bulls squad seemed like the perfect match for D'Antoni's "run happy offense." Players such as Ben Gordon showed their approval in having the former Suns coach.

After D'Antoni was off the market, who was left? Doug Collins? Collins might have been a good hire, but if he was having second thoughts about the job, maybe it is good that he just enjoys his retirement.

Avery Johnson? On paper, he is definitely a good coach, but when you have Dirk Nowitszki, who is one of the league's most dominant forwards, it's hard not to falter. The problem is that he did falter towards the end of his stay with the Mavericks.

Dwane Casey? All he has over Del Negro is bench experience. His sub .500 coaching record with the Timberwolves and lack of motivation with young players and an always energized Kevin Garnett cost him a chance to save this young Bulls team craving motivation.

So Del Negro might not be the greatest option, but it is certainly not as bad as you might think. Former NBA guard and current ESPN analyst Tim Legler thinks that Del Negro's brain and intensity might be a good match with this team. Also, close friend and PTI co-host Michael Wilbon says that Del Negro favors an offense that is similar to the one D'Antoni had in Phoenix.

That's a positive right?

As far as him having no coaching experience, that can all be fixed if he puts together a staff of prominent assistant coaches. The Chicago Tribune reports that he is expected to bring former Spurs and Sonics coach Bob Hill on as his head assistant coach.

Who knows, this move could be great, or it could be a complete bust. However, Bulls fans need to reserve their judgment and wait to see the results that some from the hire.
Posted on: April 7, 2008 11:46 am

07-08 Chicago Sports: Frustration and Turnaround!

In July and August, it seemed like every Bears fan was sipping the kool-aid. I remember some people had posted on the Bears boards that  "Cedric Benson was going to have a break out season," and "Rex Grossman was going to take that next step and become a Pro Bowl quarterback." Also, the defense was going to destroy the league and the offense was going to make Bears' history (which isn't too hard to do).

Now, back to reality. By the end of September, the writing was on the wall. Grossman was yanked after only throwing 1 touchdown to 6 interceptions in only three games. Cedric Benson seemed like he was a car stuck that was stuck in neutral while in a pile of mud. And, the most prized defense in the NFL suffered a countless number of injuries.

The season still ended at a respectable 7-9, but the objective that was preached all offseason of getting back to the Super Bowl failed. The only bright spot was seeing Devin Hester top a remarkable rookie season with another record setting sophomore year. Also, beating the Packers both times was a great accomplishment too. To Bears fans, Brett Favre's last season won't be remembered as a rebirth, but a time when the Bears got their revenge on number 4 one last time.

Okay, but there was still the Bulls in October. In 2007, they went 49-33 and swept the defending champion Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. After that series, they took the favored Detroit Pistons to six games. So, what did we Bulls fans do? What we should do, sip the kool-aid. But, instead of sipping, we guzzled it and paid for it. 

Do you remember all the hype? The Bulls were pegged to go to the NBA Finals or at least the Eastern Conference Finals. Fast forward to right now. Currently, they are 30-45 and are most likely out of the dull Eastern Conference playoff picture. Some people cite the fact that the Bulls didn't acquire Kobe Bryant or that Luol Deng and Ben Gordon turned down new contracts as reasons why the Bulls fell out of contention this season. Also, firing Scott Skiles for a calmer clone didn't help either. Call it what you want. Lack of heart, lack of emotion, lack of leadership, lack of a superstar. The Bulls didn't have it in 2007-2008. 

But, there has been one upside. No, not the fact that Kosuke Fukodome looks amazing or that the White Sox are leading the AL Central. It's too early to breakdown the overall baseball season. Do you remember that other team that plays in the United Center? Yeah, the Blackhawks. After years and years of dissapointment, the Blackhawks not only turned around their play, but their image as well. 

While they didn't make the playoffs this year, they did have 88 points this season and were one spot out of eight place. This season, the development of rookie forward Patrick Kane and center Justin Toews have put the writing on the walls for this organization, and it's promising. In fact, Kane, who compiled 72 total points, is a leading candidate for this season's Calder Trophy winner.

Also, off the ice, the Blackhawks have done the unthinkable. This season, Rocky Wirtz struck a deal with Comcast Sportsnet to air a selected number of games. As they head into next season, all 82 games, home and away, will be on television. The Blackhawks have also brought back old faces to West Madison Street. Legends such as Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, and Tony Esposito are back with the franchise.   

For the most part, this '07-'08 has given Chicago sports fans a lot of heartbreak. One of Cub-size proportions. But, baseball is getting into full gear, and maybe, some postseason action will occur.

Category: General
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