7 NBA Coaches Who Should Be on the Hot Seat in the Second Half of the Season
As we venture into the second half of the season, it's slowly going to become clear which coaches will and won't have jobs next year.
This season, two coaches have already been sent to the unemployment line after not being able to get the job done with their respective teams: Flip Saunders with the Washington Wizards and Paul Westphal with the Sacramento Kings.
Those two were already on the hot seat entering the season, so them being let go wasn't exactly a surprise. However, what about the coaches who have underachieved this year (and as a whole)? Looking at some of the teams with bad records, I'm simply in shock as to how some of these men still have jobs.
Take New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni. Were it not for some recent occurrences of "Linsanity," I highly doubt he would still be manning the sidelines at Madison Square Garden.
Here are seven coaches who, entering the second half, could find their seats getting a wee bit warmer.
No. 7: Scott Skiles
In his coaching career, Scott Skiles' teams have had a reputation for tough defense and some clutch shooting.
This is his fourth season with the Milwaukee Bucks, and with the team currently 13-20 on the year and two-and-a-half games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, something needs to change.
The fact of the matter is that while Skiles may have led the Bucks to the playoffs once, his team is still very young.
To add insult to injury, veteran guard Stephen Jackson, who was brought in to add some experience to the locker room, has openly clashed with his coach and demanded a trade.
Oh, and let's not forget about star point guard Brandon Jennings openly discussing his free-agency plans.
Simply put, if Skiles doesn't turn this team around fast and have it at least finish the season strong, then a new man could be running the show in Milwaukee next year.
No. 6: Alvin Gentry
Alvin Gentry already has a tough job in that his Phoenix Suns play in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
Still, he has not been bad in his time there.
In his first full season at the helm, he led the team to the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Still, following that season, Gentry lost a key piece of his offense in power forward Amar'e Stoudemire, who joined the New York Knicks via free agency.
That left him with star point guard Steve Nash and a young roster that was still in development mode, plus an aging Vince Carter.
Sure enough, the Suns missed the playoffs last year and finished two games under .500.
This year has been even tougher, as the Suns are 14-20 and third worst in their conference. With the ever-growing possibility of Nash being traded, the temperature of Gentry's seat is rising rapidly.
No. 5: Mike D'Antoni
Personally, I'm a huge fan of Coach D, but it's becoming harder and harder to defend him.
Despite bringing the Knicks back to the playoffs last year (and subsequently getting swept thanks to injuries), he has struggled to put together a consistent team this year.
Sure, Jeremy Lin has been a godsend for a squad desperately needing a true point guard, but how long will that last?
The facts are simple. This is the final year of D'Antoni's $24 million contract, and given how team owner James Dolan wouldn't even give his coach an extension following a playoff appearance, that is very telling.
What D'Antoni needs to do is not only get the Knicks back to the playoffs, but have them actually compete in them and not just fall over and die like they did last year.
Otherwise, he'll forever be labeled as a coach who was all offense and no defense, and he'll be out of New York faster than a trash-talking Celtics fan.
No. 4: Monty Williams
Poor Monty Williams.
His New Orleans Hornets are 8-25 on the year, third worst in the league, and it isn't his fault at all.
In his first season with the team, he led them to the playoffs and pushed the Los Angeles Lakers to their limit before being eliminated in Game 6.
Then, right before the start of the season, star point guard Chris Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Since then, the Hornets have lost their sting, as leading scorer Eric Gordon, one of the pieces received from the Clippers, has missed all but two games with knee problems.
Is he the key to a turnaround? Perhaps he is.
Still, unless the team can finish strong and possibly make a key acquisition at the trade deadline, Williams may be let go just two years into his three-year contract.
No. 3: Avery Johnson
Avery Johnson is in an extremely tough position.
He has one of the best point guards in the league in Deron Williams and almost no talent to put around him.
To his credit, he did double the team's win total last year (compared to the previous season), but this year the team is only 10-25.
If they lose out on Howard and also lose Williams to free agency, then they will basically be an expansion team moving into a new city.
At that point, Johnson's seat will be so hot that I don't even think he'll be able to sit, at least not without ice.
No. 2: Paul Silas
No matter how you look at it, working for the Charlotte Bobcats is a tough job.
Not only is your boss Michael Jordan, the greatest to have ever played the game, but the team you work for is young and in a city whose first love is college basketball.
Such is the case for Paul Silas, who actually did a decent job last year after taking over following the resignation of Larry Brown. In 54 games, he went 25-29, and along that stretch lost his best player in forward Gerald Wallace.
This year, however, has been the worst of Silas' coaching career. The Bobcats are 4-28, worst in the NBA, and look just plain bad. The roster is composed of underachievers, injury-prone players and ones who are just awful.
Needless to say, I'll be shocked if Silas still has a job next year.
No. 1: Dwane Casey
Dwane Casey's previous head coaching experience prior to this year was two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, neither of which ended with a spot in the playoffs. Yet as an assistant on the champion Dallas Mavericks, he somehow became an attractive candidate once again.
He landed the big job with the Toronto Raptors, a team that is just a big mess. Their top big man, Andrea Bargnani, can't play defense to save his life. Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan is more of a dunker than a natural shooter, and Jose Calderon is turning into a fine player on a bad team.
Recently, the Raptors have lost seven of their last 10 and earlier this season lost eight games in a row.
Casey now has a 10-23 record with a team that finished just 22-60 last year. If he doesn't exceed that win mark, then something tells me he could be one-and-done.