The Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Pelicans have already sent their coaches packing as Alvin Gentry and Jim Boylen were relieved of their duties this past week.
With the NBA playoffs just underway, there are a few more questions that surround some teams.
Playoff success and team chemistry both factor into determining a head coach’s longevity, as does how much they have accomplished in the few years that they have been with the organization.
Each coach listed here is considered to be on the hot seat for one reason or another. Plus, each coach will be given a number from one through five (with five being the highest level of urgency the coach is feeling going into the offseason).
Mike D’Antoni | Houston Rockets
Hot seat: 4/5
Mike D’Antoni has been the Rockets’ head coach since the 2016-2017 NBA season. D’Antoni’s system has helped progress an already-talented James Harden from an All-Star talent to MVP-caliber talent. In his time in Houston, D’Antoni has a win percentage of .703 (173-73) but has yet to reach the Finals.
Partly due to the super-team that was Golden State, most of the blame can be placed on D’Antoni’s system, which has not worked in high-profile series. The run-and-gun, high-voltage, three-point offense has worked in most games, but as we have seen before, the team can easily lay an egg and go zero-for-27 on any given night.
D’Antoni has been great in the regular season for the Rockets. And just like his time in Phoenix and New York, he was simply never the coach to get over the hump to reach the Finals.
Another early exit by the Rockets before the Western Conference Finals could result in a change. The organization might have to consider parting ways with the veteran coach, who was granted great talent once again.
Brett Brown |Philadelphia 76ers
Hot seat: 4.5/5
Brett Brown has been nothing but spectacular to the Philadelphia organization. Brown entered the scene during the team’s “Trust the Process” phase and was even part of drafting Joel Embiid. Brown came into Philadelphia as the coach to help develop the young guys.
During this time, Brown has gone beyond his expectations and received an extension after his first contract was up. Brown’s record does not provide great context to what he has done with the team. Brown, in his time with the 76ers, boasts a measly .362 winning record percentage.
When Brown was first introduced to the team, he was coming into an abysmal organization. The roster had been riddled with unproven, G-League-caliber players.
Now, the 76ers are a premiere team … and have been for the past three years. Brown has no more excuses.
While some will blame injuries for Brown’s woes, his style of coaching has not led the team to a championship. His system is to carve out young players’ talents to their fullest. The 76ers have a chance to be bounced easily by the Boston Celtics in the first round. If that happens, the team should look into finding a coach that can complement the dominant duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Luke Walton | Sacramento Kings
Hot seat: 3/5
This should not come as a surprise. Luke Walton is not a capable coach for a team that is trying to reach the playoffs. His changing of the lineups and constant inconsistencies is what is damaging the Kings.
Last year, before Walton became the new head coach, the Kings were an up-and-coming team filled with young talent.
This year, the Kings have been abysmal. Offensively, the Kings took a major step back. Even when the top players were all healthy, Walton had what many would consider “unique” lineups. He essentially seems unsure of his ability as a coach, and although he is one of the smarter guys in the league, his ability to lead a team is clearly lacking.
The Kings need a coach that develops players and runs an efficient offense that complements their star player in DeAaron Fox. Walton should be given another year, but the frustration that came with him is almost intolerable as the team took a step back.
Quin Snyder | Utah Jazz
Hot seat: 3.5/5
The Utah Jazz have yet to reach the Western Conference Finals under Snyder. In Snyder’s time with Utah, the team went from 25 wins to a 50-win team. However, the Jazz have stalled out the past three years, not once getting past the second round nor even coming close to reaching the Western Conference. Snyder is most to be blamed for the lack of success in Utah.
It’s worth noting the Jazz’s have been nothing short of talented. Having worked with players such as Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, Snyder is a defensive-minded coach and led the Jazz into becoming one of the best defensive teams in years. But defense is only one half of the game. The offense is very inconsistent, as players come and go into the organization. The unit is quite lackluster despite being among the best three-point shooting teams.
Even with the high percentage, they were in the bottom half of attempts. If the Jazz lose in the first round, the team might want to look into hiring another coach that can take advantage of the offensive potential of the squad.
Scott Brooks | Washington Wizards
Hot seat: 3/5
The Wizards are currently in a downward spiral since losing to the Boston Celtics in a very close seven-game series of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Amidst injuries to John Wall, the team has yet to make the playoffs in back-to-back years.
The team needs to figure out whether or not they want to continue the franchise under Wall’s regime or if they want to move past the speedy guard and rebuild around Bradley Beal. When this discussion happens this offseason, the team will have to consider Brooks’s placement. He has been a serviceable coach since joining Washington, but with injuries riddling the last two years’ play, the team might want to look into a new coach.
Brooks is an average coach at best, and he struggled with talent in Oklahoma City and Washington. The plays that he runs in Washington are near similar to what he ran with the Thunder. He has struggled to adapt to new NBA trends, and thus could be removed from his position. Washington must decide if they want to give Brooks another year to prove himself with a healthy team.
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