Vinny Del Negro has traditionally existed as an NBA head coach without expectations. He first took the chair in 2008 with the Chicago Bulls. The team was starting a rookie, Derrick Rose, at point guard. There was no expectation to for Del Negro to lead the team to the playoffs ... but he did accomplish that. Expectations rose a bit the following season (though Rose still was not nearly the player we now know him as), but they still weren't high. Del Negro's squad met them, returning to the postseason.
Nonetheless, due to disputes with the front office and the (possibly accurate) sense that Chicago's success was due far more to the players' raw talent than anything V.D.N. offered, the coach was gone. He quickly landed with the L.A. Clippers, where he inherited a rookie Blake Griffin, a young Eric Gordon and a team destined to be a very exciting lottery squad.
As it turns out, the 2010-11 Clippers turned out to be a very exciting lottery squad.
Expectations are much higher now, higher than they've ever been for Coach Del Negro. With Chris Paul in place, L.A. will be expected to not only make the postseason this year, but do some damage. Clippers GM Neil Olshey hired Del Negro, so there are no particular issues there, but if the team fails to get rolling quickly, Del Negro is the obvious fall guy. This team has the talent to win big, and CP3 is the best floor general in the game. But every good team needs a proper coach, and it remains to be seen whether V.D.N. can accomplish something with a better-than-average squad. We'll see.
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