If there's one thing every Bulls fan knows about the 2008-09 Chicago Bulls, it's this: Derrick Rose is the future. He's the No. 1 overall pick. He's already the best player on the team. And while he has rookie issues, there is little chance the Bulls will be anything approaching "good" in the next few years without the continued development of Rose. He's the franchise, and everybody knows it.
Except, of course, the man employed to coach him. After a spate of recent coaching decisions that left Rose on the bench at the end of close games, John Paxson actually had to tell Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro -- and this is where you may begin crying, or laughing, or both, if you want -- to put Derrick Rose in the game. That's not a joke, friends:
"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. [...] "I think Vinny has sometimes a tough chore because we feel we do have really good guards. But it does come back to what Derrick represents, and Derrick is our future. We had the conversation, and Vinny is trying to do the right things out there. But Derrick is going to be in a lot of end-of-game situations and he'll be better for it."
Uh, gee, YOU THINK? Every casual Bulls fan in the world just nodded their heads, wondering why they knew more about basketball than the coach of the Chicago Bulls.
That this is even an argument is a testament to how utterly lost Del Negro is in his first year in the NBA. New coaches have their growing pains, sure, but most new coaches don't need to be told to keep the long-term interests of the franchise at heart. They know their players. They know which ones will be around for years, and they know which ones their front office values. They don't need to be told to put their effing franchise rookie point guard and No. 1 overall pick in close games.
That's not a growing pain. That's just inexplicable. At least Paxson said something, we guess. As embarrassing as this revelation is, the alternative sounds much worse.
Eamonn Brennan is a writer, editor and blogger hunkered down in Lincoln Park. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, MOUTHPIECE Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com.