Los Angeles Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro was named the Western Conference Coach of the Month for December the NBA announced today. Del Negro was what we can only assume a unanimous choice after the Clippers went undefeated.
From the NBA’s announcement:
Del Negro led the Clippers to a perfect 16-0 record in December, including wins over the Boston Celtics and three wins over the Utah Jazz. The Clippers’ franchise-best 17-game winning streak, which included the sixteen December wins, ended with their first game in January. The streak stands as the longest in the NBA since the 2008 season when Boston won 19 consecutive games.
Today’s announcement also should signify Del Negro as a serious candidate for Coach of the Year if his team continues its winning ways. For a coach who’s previously been widely (and unfairly) maligned for being a poor game manager and a weak Xs and Os tactician, Del Negro has this feather in his cap to silence the critics–at least for now.
Of course, it’s harder to select coaching honors because there are fewer statistical metrics like players have to determine who’s the best, so wins will always be the most crucial factor to consider. Del Negro’s players virtually assured their coach of the monthly honor by going undefeated.
Del Negro has had some history with going undefeated for an entire calendar month. He was the starting point guard on the 1995-96 San Antonio Spurs that went 16-0 in March.
It was also announced today by the league that Chris Paul was named the Western Conference Player of the Month for December.