Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 5/30/12
CULVER CITY, CA -- Looking at the Clippers' 40-26 recorda franchise-best 60.6 winning percentageand an appearance in the second round of the playoffs for only the second time in the Donald Sterling Era--picking up the option on Coach Vinny Del Negro's contract seemed to be a no-brainer. These are the Clippers, however, an organization still fighting to overcome a perception of ineptness and frustration, also germane to the Sterling Era. Critics continually refuse to believe that recently the Clips have actually acted like a model NBA franchise under Sterling, President Andy Roeser and General Manager Neil Olshey, and the perception now seems unfair. Nevertheless, when the announcement was made that Del Negro would be back for his third year, the skeptics were out in force. On a conference call with reporters, Del Negro was asked if he was worried because the team waited a while to make the official statement "No, not really," said Del Negro, who has a 72-76 record with the Clippers. "There's always going to be speculation. It was a difficult season for everybody. "Neil and I talk every day, and the results speak for themselves. We have certain areas that we need to get better, all of us, and we will." Olshey, who was instrumental in bringing Del Negro in after he was fired by the Chicago Bulls, was pointed in his answer to the same question. "We won a seventh game, on the road, with a roster of the walking wounded," he said. "Vinny has been in on all the meetings and has been part of the decision-making process. He was instrumental in helping recruit Chris Paul and Caron Butler. He certainly has the team pointed in the right direction. Vinny clearly had one of the most successful seasons as a coach in Clippers' history. "We're not going to judge ourselves by Clipper history, but we are going to judge ourselves by NBA history, and we're on the right path. With an entire summer to work with our players and a full training camp, we're going to take another step forward toward winning an NBA title. "There's no greater compliment for a coach than to see how hard his players are playing (for him) at the end of the year. That wasn't always the case in this organization. Even though we lost Games Three and Four to San Antonio, the players competed right down to the final whistle. "We're going to make some roster moves, bring in some more talent, and I'm confident Vinny will make sure we're playing at this time next year." Despite the success Del Negro and the Clippers had in 2011-2012, his re-hiring will likely bring some negative reactions. Radio talk show hosts and callers have already referred to him as the "Del Harris of the 21st century"a reference to the former Laker head man; a good coach, but not good enough to get the Clippers to their ultimate goal of a World Title. And it won't be the first time he's faced the verbal firing squad. Following the loss of team leader Chauncey Billups with a torn Achilles tendon on February 6th in Orlando, the team struggled for a while to find itself. They went 11-14, including consecutive road losses at Indiana, Oklahoma City and Memphis. The rumor mill began to swirl and it was reported that Del Negro might be fired immediately. Didn't happen, though, and the Clippers won 13 of their next 15. "Those were tough times, but we knew if we could weather the storm, we'd have a chance to get better," said Del Negro. "That's what we did." There was the remarkable playoff comeback against the Grizzlies on the road in Game One of the first round, in which the Clippers were trailing by 27 late and found a way to come back and win. They also showed toughness and solidarity after blowing a 3-1 series lead, going back to Memphis with an injured Paul and Blake Griffin, yet managing to win the seventh game and move on to face San Antonio in the conference semis. They were swept by the rejuvenated Spurs, but Del Negro definitely showed that he deserved at least another year to coach the Clippersa season not tainted by a condensed schedule, nine-day training camp and a rash of injuries that would have crippled most other teams. And he wasn't hesitant to admit that he also needs to improve his coaching ability. "This is always a work (in progress)," Del Negro said during the conference call. "I want to get better at my craft, no doubt about it. That's what I love. I love the competition, but I love the opportunity to improve, challenge myself to improve and help make the organization and team better."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Vlade Divac indicates DeMarcus Cousins’ agents killed other deal

Report: Julius Thomas traded to Dolphins

Joe Mixon likely to go undrafted in April?

Belichick officially updates boat’s name to ‘VII Rings’

Canseco warns humanity about robot takeover in Twitter rant

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before pitching in 2000 NLDS

Kings throw shade at Cousins in press release announcing trade

Report: Jets tampered with Revis through private phones, secret meetings

Calipari shoots down talk of him leaving Kentucky for Pelicans

Report: Carmelo prefers trade to Clippers or Lakers

Report: Kings blowing up roster, putting Darren Collison, Ben McLemore on block

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Too much to Process: Can Simmons match the Embiid hype?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher with 200 or more wins since 1961

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker