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Del Negro Doesn’t Regret Taking Clippers Job

November 21, 2010

Clippers’ first year coach Vinny Del Negro’s inaugural season as the Clippers coach has started out to be a rough one. The other team in Los Angeles is a dismal 1-13, banged up with injuries to key veterans and their starting five’s oldest player is 22 years old. Hopefully, things turn around soon for VDN.

From Chicago Tribune:

For a coach who took two Bulls teams to the playoffs, Vinny Del Negro experienced an inordinate amount of adversity.

In that regard, Del Negro looked right at home Saturday night at the Staples Center, where his Clippers entered a late game against the Knicks with a league-worst 1-12 record.

The biggest difference, of course, is the playoffs seem a pipe dream.

“It’s difficult,” Del Negro said. “You’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise. Guys are competitive. But you also have to keep in perspective the guys we’ve had out, the schedule and the youth of our team. Guys need to handle the adversity and not compromise to it.

“Chris (Kaman) and Baron (Davis) were two guys we were relying on. We’ve had to rely on younger guys, and in this league mistakes beat you.”

Indeed, the Clippers have been without Davis, whom Del Negro chastised for coming to camp out of shape, and Kaman, an All-Star center. They’ve also lost two overtime games and a two-pointer.

Del Negro’s gallows humor is intact, pointing out he started only two rookies Saturday night as opposed to three.

“I’m very competitive,” Del Negro said. “And you want to do whatever you can to help these guys develop and stay positive. At the same time, you’re measured on wins and losses.

“I have to keep these young players accountable, teach them, but also let them play through some of their mistakes.”

Both Davis and Kaman could return this week.

“You want to be positive,” Kaman said. “This is the coach we have whether you like how he does it or not. We need to buy into what he’s doing. We have to give things an opportunity because it can work.”

Del Negro downplayed the Davis situation, saying “it wasn’t a distraction” and that his communication with the mercurial guard is strong. He also said he doesn’t regret jumping right back into coaching even though he could’ve broadcasted for a season and collected Bulls paychecks.

“I enjoy the competition and challenge of it,” Del Negro said. “I enjoy seeing the young guys develop. Is this an easy situation? Of course not. But you have to work through it, enjoy it the best you can, help the organization as best you can and try to stay together.

“Things that are out of my control I can’t worry about it. I worry about my preparation and my job to improve individually and help this team get better. I’m glad I jumped in because the more you coach, the better you get at it and make better decisions.”

So much losing has limited Del Negro’s ability to follow the Bulls.

“I look at the progress of the players,” he said. “I’m happy for guys like Derrick (Rose) and Taj (Gibson) and Jo (Noah). I have so much respect for those guys. They’re all three quality people and workers.

“They’re going to keep getting better. But I’m pretty consumed with everything that’s going on here.”

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