10 NBA Coaches On the Hot Seat
10 NBA Coaches On the Hot Seat
What’s a NBA season without coaching drama? Every year there are a few coaches who just don’t make it through the season. There are those who start the year off on with little room for mistake. There are some who handle things well early in the season, but things take a spin for the worst. And there are some who have high such high expectations and falter under the pressure.
Entering the 2012-13 season, there are a few coaches who fit under those categories. Last season there were four coaches who were victims of coaching changes: Paul Westphal for the Sacramento Kings, Flip Saunders for the Washington Wizards, the resignation of Mike D’Antoni from the New York Knicks and Nate McMillan for the Portland Trailblazers.
It’s not clear whether these coaches are under the “hot seat” coming into the season, but they have little room for mistakes as expectations may exceed their team’s talents. Of course, there are a few situations where the players are the “real” reason some coaches get fired (Deron Williams x Jerry Sloan, Dwight Howard x Stan Van Gundy).
A few of the coaches on this list include coaches of teams that are considered “contenders”, a few lottery teams, some middle of the pack teams and one that may result in a fire if the team doesn’t make it to the NBA Finals or worst: win it all. Without further introduction, here are the 10 NBA coaches who may be or will be on the hot seat for the 2012-13 season.
Los Angeles Clippers : Vinny Del Negro
Team: Los Angeles Clippers 2011-2012 Record: 40-26 Record W/Team: 72-76 Bovada Projections: 48.5 games won, 5th in West
Vinny Del Negro has been on the "hot seat" since he started his coaching gig with the Los Angeles Clippers. Before his job was to make the playoffs, but with that done his workload has increased. Not only does he have to make the playoffs, he's expected to have the Clippers finish as a 1-5 seed, get past the first round and do WHATEVER he has to do to keep Chris Paul.
Last season, Del Negro was almost a victim to poor coaching and a small mutiny, but he got things on track, but you have to wonder if things don't go well for the Clips this season would the team look into bringing inb seeing as they have a point guard (Chris Paul) and a power forward (Blake Griffin) that'd fit his defense perfectly. And if he can't get CP3 to come back then, Vinny Del Negro will be looking for work by the summer time. Do I think it happens? No. This team has entirely too much talent for a collapse, but most said that about the Portland Trailblazers and we see where their couch is.
Washington Wizards : Randy Wittman
Team: Washington Wizards 2011-2012 Record: 20-46 Record W/Team: 18-31 Bovada Projections: 31.5 games won, 13th in East
The odds of the Washington Wizards firing two coaches in back-to-back seasons aren't too high so Randy Wittman has that to rely on, but some expect this team to be a borderline playoff team and at most an 8th seed. With injuries to John Wall and Nene, those expectations have lightened and so have the expectations of Wittman to succeed.
But like every other coach on this list, if things begin to go downhill then Wittman's job will be in jeopardy seeing as the head is always blamed for a team's problems. The worst that can happen is a mutiny similar to what happened to Nate McMillan for the Portland Trailblazers last season, but this team seems to respect Wittman as a coach. But sometimes you never know what can happen once the season starts.
Brooklyn Nets : Avery Johnson
Team:Brooklyn Nets2011-2012 Record: 22-44 Record W/Team: 46-102 Bovada Projections: 43.5 games won, 8th in the East
There is no doubt that the Brooklyn Nets are expected to have a great year. Great in terms of the improvement they have over gone from last year to this season. WithDeron Williams, Brook Lopez, if his foot cooperates, Gerald Wallace and newly added Joe Johnson, they will be a good team offensively.
This is where Avery Johnson steps in. They’re not going to beat everyone by outscoring them. Sooner or later this team is going to have to buckle down and play defense and whether Avery can get them to do that well may or may not cost him his job.
He may benefit from the core having its first year together. No one thinks this team is championship worthy, so some leniency will be the case for Johnson. A slow start and complaint from his star players (I’m talking to you Deron ) may have him on his way out of Brooklyn.
Charlotte Bobcats : Mike Dunlap
Team: Charlotte Bobcats 2011-2012 Record: 7-59 Record W/Team: 0-0 Bovada Projections: 21.5 games won, 15 in East
Mike Dunlap may get a harder "who" than Jacque Vaughn does if you ask the general NBA fan who he is. Let's be honest. This team can't be any worst than it was last year right? Hopefully for Dunlap's sake I hope that they can't. They've generally improved at almost every position. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will add to this team defensively, Ramon Sessions is a small step-up from D.J. Augustin and the second year improvement from Kemba Walker should help this team be much better.
But a relatively young team can go array if they aren't coached properly and that's Dunlap's job to keep this team on track. Can they win 21 games? Sure. But if they start to look like last season's Bobcat then Dunlap will, of course, be the victim and jobless.
Sacramento Kings : Keith Smart
Team: Sacramento Kings 2011-2012 Record: 22-44 Record W/Team: 20-39 Bovada Projections: 29.5 games won, 14th in the West
This team hasn't won 30 games since 2007-2008. Keith Smart became the interim coach last season after Paul Westphal was fired a few weeks into the season. Based off of win percentage, this team was better than it was in the last three seasons. Now it's up to Smart to keep improving.
In the offseason they've added Thomas Robinson and Aaron Brooks, so it's expected that the team will be better than last few years. It'll be interesting to see how Smart uses Tyreke Evans. This can easily go south for Smart. If he fails to contain Demarcus Cousins and his attitude, let Jimmer Nation influence to play him despite his struggles and the team simply isn't winning games then he could be one of the coaches put on the "hot seat".
Another issue that may be hanging over Smart's head is whether the Kings will remain in Sacramento. If moved, they're going to want everything to be in tact from the coaching staff down to the roster and if Keith hasn't shown that he's the coach of the future for theSacramento Kings, then he may be a free agent this offseason.
New York Knicks : Mike Woodson
Team: New York Knicks 2011-2012 Record: 36-30 Record W/Team: 18-6 Bovada Projections: 45.5 games won, 6th in East
Mike Woodson's offense is perfect for Carmelo Anthony: Iso, iso and more iso. The question is whether it fits for the rest of the team as we've seen that Melo can't beat a quality playoff opponent by himself. This team hasn't been what everyone expected it to be when Melo was traded to the New York Knicks.
I didn't want to mention it, but i've no choice: they let Jeremy Lin walk away. Now the pressure is on Brown to create the same type of effect that Lin had on the team, but without Lin. Can he get Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton to be what they were two years ago? Can he get Amare Stoudemire to return to what he was two years ago? If so then his job is all, but safe. Woodson can't afford for this team to just win one playoff game also. It's nothing for an interim coach to play well after the other coach is fired mostly because of him being not what the players want, but now we're gonna see if Mike Woodson can make this team a contender instead of them being a first round exit every year like when he was the coach of the Atlanta Hawks.
Detroit Pistons : Lawrence Frank
Team: Detroit Pistons 2011-2012 Record: 25-41 Record W/Team: 25-41 Bovada Projections: 32.5 games won, 11th in East
Well, Lawrence Frank. The honeymoon with the Detroit Pistons is over. You can get away with a lot of things your first year including have a losing record, but after that improvement is always expected. Andre Drummond should help down low and with Jonas Jerekbo healthy and Corey Magette added, the 3/4 position should improve, but of course Lawrence Frank has to make sure this happens.
Am I wrong for thinking that this team may be the worst in the Eastern Conference? Yes that means under the Charlotte Bobcats. If that happens, then Frank is out definitely as the coach in Detroit as they're looking to move up in the Eastern rankings similar to what the Toronto Raptors will be doing.
Orlando Magic : Jacque Vaughn
Team: Orlando Magic 2011-2012 Record: 37-29 Record W/Team: 0-0 Bovada Projections:24.5 games won, 14th in the East
Raise your hands if you know who Jacque Vaughn is! The last I remember of him was being a guard for the San Antonio Spurs. After last year's season, the Orlando Magic are wiping the slate clean. New coach, no star and a team full of role-players. Where does that leave Vaughn?
Hopefully he doesn't become a casualty of his team's performance, but when the team doesn't perform things always roll back to the coach right? Hypothetically, if this teams begins the first two months of the season as the worst team in the East (yes, worst than Charlotte), then what stops him from being replaced with someone the team respects due to prior experience?
Is he a better than a Patrick Ewing, who the team passed over while looking for a coach this summer. Maybe he'll have management on his side, but if this team resembles the Nets team that only won 10 games, Vaughn won't have a job for long.
Philadelphia 76ers : Doug Collins
Team: Philadelphia 76ers 2011-2012 Record: 35-31 Record W/Team: 76-72 Bovada Projections: 47.5 games won, 5th in East
Doug Collins has a long way to go with this Philadelphia 76ers team. He nearly lost this team last season. The result of that turned into an 8th seed finish in the East which was a blessing in disguise as Derrick Rose got injured and the 76ers took the Boston Celtics to a game 7. Now the stacks are higher and I don't think Collins can afford to lose this team again.
Instead of Andre Iguodala leading the fight, Collins has to deal with Andrew Bynum and, at times, even Phil Jackson couldn't get him completely focused so I can't imagine the work Collins will have to put in with Andrew. If this team finishes under the 5th seed, Collins may be on his way out. The core of the team is relatively young and it's unclear on whether his coaching methods suits them best. This team can't take be the victim of having a bad year and if so, Collins' will be gone fast.
Los Angeles Lakers : Mike Brown
Team: Los Angeles Lakers 2011-2012 Record: 41-25 Record W/Team: 41-25 Bovada Projections: 59.5 games won, 2nd in West
It's pretty simple here with Mike Brown as the Los Angeles Lakers are primed to have one of the best seasons a NBA team has had in a while. Most didn't think he was fit to coach the team last year as it came off as Kobe Bryant running the team a bit last year.
Now the pressure has mounted even more. Add Steve Nash and Dwight Howard and this team is make it to the championship or bust. If they don't win, he may retain his job unless they're swept. Lakers suffer a third consecutive year of being put out in the second round, Mike Brown would be out quickly. I'm not even sure if just making it to the conference finals would be enough for Brown.
A lot of people don't think Mike Brown is fit to run this Lakers team due to the lack of offense he brings to the team. With Dwight Howard a free agent this summer, them winning it all can shape the future of the Lake Show and the amount of pressure on Brown to end the season raising the trophy can cost him a job.