NBA Power Ranking: Jim O'Brien and 10 Coaches Who May Join Him on Chopping Block
With the recent departure of Jim O'Brien from my Pacers team, I have been asked to create a list of other head coaches that are on the hot seat. Some of these guys are sweating it out, while other guys shouldn't really have to worry too much about their coaching future.
Most of the guys will probably be done by the end of the season, but some of them are getting too much blame for their poor seasons. The talent that is given to a coach will go a long way in determining how far they can go, but they will ultimately take the fall for a team that isn't living up to what the owners and fans want to see.
While O'Brien wasn't the worst coach to ever draw up a play on a clip board, he wasn't exactly a great coach by any stretch of the imagination. He had many questionable decisions that were made during his time here, and while we appreciate him taking the blame and staying classy about the situation, the fans are rejoicing here in Indy.
The question is, who is the next coach to get canned in the NBA this year?
Scott Skiles, Milwaukee Bucks
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Scott Skiles is in his third season as coach of the Bucks. While he may be regarded as one of the best defensive minded coaches in the league, he really lacks the offensive mindset that many fans in Milwaukee would like to see.
With talented guys like Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings, this team should be much better than they are. Right now, they look like a playoff team, but they have a long way to go if they ever want to challenge the Bulls for the division title. Give him credit though, the Bucks have had some impressive performances this year by Chris Douglas-Roberts and Ersan Ilyasova among others.
John Kuester, Detroit Pistons
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Pistons have had an up-and-down season this year, and some of it was due to the lingering questions surrounding Rip Hamilton.
He was mentioned in the trade talks with Carmelo Anthony earlier this year and sat on the bench for multiple games because of it. The team is still struggling to find their identity, though at times they have looked like a playoff-caliber team.
Kuester is just in his second year in Detroit, where they are not used to this type of season. Many of the fans in Detroit would like him to push the tempo a little bit more, especially with the depth they have at the guard position. Kuester may be safe and looks to have a much clearer view of what this team will look like next year.
Paul Westphal, Sacramento Kings
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
This team is young, but they have some decent talent on the roster. They will need time to grow, especially playing in the tougher Western Conference.
Westphal has been known to play a lot of guys, but he also gives the young guys a chance, which is why the Kings are doing better than some people thought they would this year. With Tyreke Evans leading the way, the Kings have managed to do alright this year. Many people have been surprised that he has been able to keep DeMarcus Cousins under control this season.
While the Kings may not be one of the most popular teams in the league, Paul has shown that he is a decent coach who deserves a little bit more time.
Vinny Del Negro, Los Angeles Clippers
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
At the beginning of the season, many fans were ready to part ways with Del Negro.
The Clippers got off to a slow start, which was typical of the franchise, but expectations were so high with the return of Blake Griffin this year. Rightfully so too, as Griffin has exploded to take the league by storm with his high-flying dunks and amazing athletic ability. With a roster that looks better than most in the league, the Clippers have began to realize their potential as of late.
They have been a pretty hot team the past few weeks, but have lost Eric Gordon to an injury, who joins Chris Kaman on the bench in a suit and tie. With the emergence of DeAndre Jordan and Baron Davis keeping his turnovers down, this team has a legitimate chance at the playoffs for the first time in a long time.
Vinny looks to be safe for now.
Jay Triano, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors are a complete mess this year.
Much like the Cavaliers losing LeBron, the Raptors took a big hit when Chris Bosh left town. The Raptors have been virtually nonexistent in a lot of games this season. Right now, they are playing the Pacers in Indianapolis, where it appears they are ready to put another game in the loss column. Triano doesn't really have any stars on this team, but the talents of Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan is better than some others.
The Raptors are the worst defensive team in the league by far, and they have a long way to go before they see improvement. Triano has had his opportunity in Canada, and many people would not be surprised to see him go before the season is over.
Kurt Rambis, Minnesota Timberwolves
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Kurt Rambis tried to install the Triangle Offense with a team that could not have been a worse fit, and he strangely played his best and most coach-able player, Kevin Love, less than 30 minutes a game.
Rambis has yet to gain any respect as a head coach, and it doesn't appear that is coming anytime soon in Minnesota. The Timberwolves have some good talent on their roster, but they have failed to put it all together. The Timberwolves have openly discussed the fact that they are in the process of rebuilding the franchise, but many wonder if Rambis will be there for the near future.
Keith Smart, Golden State Warriors
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Keith Smart hasn't been in the spotlight much this year, as his team is rarely on national TV, and when they are, they are always the latest games.
Not many people in the East even know much about the Warriors, except for the fact they have Monta Ellis and Steph Curry. While they have one of the best backcourts in the NBA, they still haven't had a very good season. The acquisition of David Lee was supposed to gear this team towards making a playoff run.
Filling Don Nelson's shoes won't be an easy task, but he needs to establish himself as the head coach once and for all. He wants to make the team more of a half-court team, but it will be hard to convince the star guards that that is the way to go. Smart should get some more time before they decide to make any coaching changes in Golden State.
Larry Drew, Atlanta Hawks
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
It seems like the Hawks have been a middle-of-the-pack team for a decade now.
Atlanta has some great talent in their starting lineup and looks like one of the best in the league. The problem is there isn't much depth there for Drew to work with. The Hawks haven't made many changes to the roster in recent years, but many people are wondering if it is time to blow this thing up and restart.
The past four or five years have been bitter-sweet, as they have made the playoffs, yet failed to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. While Drew might not be the problem, he might be on the way out if Atlanta has another first-round exit this postseason.
Lionel Hollins, Memphis Grizzlies
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Looking at the Grizzlies, many people are wondering why this isn't a threatening playoff team.
They have some really good pieces in place, but their record isn't what they would like it to be at this point in the season. The bad season that O.J. Mayo has had could sum up how the team has felt all year. With talented guys like Marc Gasol, Mayo and underrated Zach Randolph to go along with their star Rudy Gay, this team should be winning a lot more than they have.
If Hollins can actually get this team to play defense, they could be a very good team in the postseason. While missing the playoffs might not cost him his job, making the postseason would definitely keep him in Memphis for a few more years.
Rick Adelman, Houston Rockets
This one might be a stretch.
Much like the Hawks in the East, the Rockets have been a so-so team for many years now. Their star Yao Ming has missed an incredible amount of time over the past couple of seasons, but they have managed to do well without him. With a deep roster, Adelman should be able to get this team to play better defense and challenge some of the best teams out West.
In 18 seasons as a head coach, Adelman has had a losing record just two times. That speaks to his ability to adapt to any kind of roster, which is something they have to have with Yao out. While many fans are disappointed and angry that he is unable to win a playoff series, they should be thankful to have him, as he has gotten them to the postseason so many times but has just run into better teams like the Lakers and Spurs.
Rick should be safe in Houston.