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Clippers players say “it’s not him, it’s me” about Del Negro

Mar 23, 2012, 11:24 AM EDT

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro watches a free throw during their NBA game against Minnesota Reuters

One of the rights of passage for an embattled coach — and make no mistake, Vinny Del Negro is an embattled coach, even the most reasoned of Clippers writers are talking change now — is for the players to rally to the defense of their coach.

The “it’s not you, it’s me” lines pour out. Players throw themselves on the sword.

That’s what the Clippers players were doing after they lost to the Hornets on Thursday night. Here are the comments, via the Los Angeles Times.

“We’re still behind him,” Blake Griffin said…”It’s not that. It’s us. It’s on me. I’ve got to find a way and we’ve got to find a way to put the fun back in it, the fun we had the first how many games and we were just going out and playing.”

“Coaches come and go in this league,” Kenyon Martin said. “We all know players make this league. But until we go out and play, we can’t always point the finger at the coach. That ain’t always the issue.”

The Clippers effort has not been great of late, which in part does fall on the coach. But even when it is, as it was for most of the loss to the Hornets Thursday, it doesn’t mask the team’s problems. They don’t play defense (23rd in the league in efficiency). They foul too much. And their offense is simple and predictable — defenses have adjusted and the Clippers never go to counters.

Right now in the West just four games separate the four seed Dallas Mavericks and the 11 seed Minnesota Timberwolves. It’s tight and it’s not going to take much to fall completely out of the playoffs. The Clippers are the six seed as you read this, but just one game ahead of the nine-seed Jazz. If the Clippers don’t find a way to shake things up and fast, they will be home for the playoffs. And that most certainly would mean Del Negro is out.

  1. apooster - Mar 23, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Sometimes I just don’t understand how some coaches get jobs over and over again in the league?

    You would think someone in the front offices would realize that they’ve been terrible before and will continue that way.

    D’Antoni is an offensive guy but will never win a championship.
    Del Negro flat out sucks.
    Flip Saunders
    Randy Wittman

    Isn’t the goal to win a championship? Why not go after guys that either have before, or unproven guys with something new to offer, rather than guys who have been there done that.

    • abasketballthing - Mar 23, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      D’Antoni is a good coach. If he had a team that fit his system with a good defensive C, he would win a championship. He’s not among the best, but he can definitely win a championship. A team with a good pure pg, good shooters on the perimeter and good PnR big men with D’Antoni as the head coach is nearly fuaranteed to have the best offense in the league every year. It’s a matter of having some defenders good enough to cover for his lack of defensive knowledge. Larry Brown is the same way, and he has won before. He’s one of the best defensive coaches ever, but he doesn’t have much offense, and he need players need to make up for that. The difference is he had those players, and D’Antoni didn’t.

      Del Negro is awful though, and Saunders is pretty mediocre.

    • losangelasbasketball - Mar 24, 2012 at 8:30 AM

      Musical chairs…del negro found a busted up chair and took a seat… do you blame him?

  2. lovesthebj - Mar 23, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Mike Woodson’s success can’t be helping Del Negro either. Owners and GM’s look at other teams who changed coaches and they get jealous of the short term success and the long term potential.

  3. glink123 - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    good post, apooster. I totally agree.

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