Monday, April 15, 2013

Which NBA Coaches Are Likely to Get Dunked?

Going into the final week of the regular season in the NBA on Monday, about the only drama left is whether the Los Angeles Lakers or Utah Jazz will grab the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

With all the other berths in both conferences locked up (some seeding arrangements still need to be sorted out this week), there is not a ton of excitement left before the playoffs kick off next weekend. With that in mind, which head coaches are likely to be on the outside looking in not long after the regular season finishes up Wednesday evening?

It was announced on Sunday that Philadelphia head coach Doug Collins (a former player with the Sixers in the 1970s) would be resigning and not coming back for the 2013-14 campaign (Collins had a year remaining on his deal with the Sixers).

After taking the rival Boston Celtics to seven games a season ago in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Sixers will miss the postseason this time around, largely in part to the off-season flop of a trade that was Andrew Bynum.

With Collins done after Wednesday’s road game at Indiana, here are some other candidates likely not to be returning come next fall, either through firings or resignations:

* Mike Dunlap (Charlotte) - With a record of 19-61 entering the final week of play, the Bobcats (who may be the Hornets again one day) have the league’s worst record, though only one game behind Orlando. For a franchise that has only tasted the playoffs once, it is hard to imagine Dunlap coming back to this mess next season. Will we eventually see owner Michael Jordan behind the bench one day? Stranger things have happened, aka Magic Johnson years ago in a stint as Lakers head coach;

* Jacque Vaughn (Orlando) - The aforementioned Orlando Magic are not much better, sitting at 20-60 with two games to play. Long gone are the days of excitement in Central Florida when guys like Shaq, Penny Hardaway and Dwight Howard wore the blue and white. A former NBA point guard for more than a decade, Vaughn doesn’t exactly have a ton of talent to work with. Given that fact, he may get a reprieve, but for how long is the question? The Magic need to do something to give the dedicated fans in the seats this year a reason to come next season;

* Larry Drew (Atlanta) - While the Hawks will make the playoffs this season for a third straight time, a first-round flame out could potentially cost Drew his job. A former NBA player, Drew is in the final year of a three-year deal with the Hawks. Winning a round or two in the Eastern Conference playoffs could go a long way in getting Drew a new deal in the Peach State;

* Byron Scott (Cleveland) - In the Mistake by the Lake, not even rampant rumors of LeBron James coming back to play for the Cavs has stemmed the tide of Scott potentially being ousted. After coaching stints in New Jersey (two trips to the NBA Finals) and New Orleans, Scott was brought into a no-win situation when he took the job in Cleveland, but a mark of 64-163 over these last three campaigns isn’t much to rest on;

* Doc Rivers (Boston) - With all his success in Beantown, including a World Championship back in 2008, Rivers has watched his Celtics barely make it to .500 at this point of the season (41-39) going into the final week of the regular season. Settled in at the seventh seed in the East, the Celtics may need a deep run in the playoffs with the battled-tested knees and backs of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to assure Rivers another season on the pine in 2013-14. While he is one of the top coaches in the game, a change of scenery next season may be good for both Rivers and the Celts;

* Monty Williams (New Orleans) - Lastly, the Hornets are set to become the Pelicans after this season, so with change will there also be a new head coach for the 2013-14 campaign? The Hornets have had a disaster of a season, sitting 31.5 games out of first place in the Southwest Division going into the final week. A recent run-in (shouting match) with point guard Eric Gordon certainly wasn’t the PR Williams and New Orleans management were looking for. In defense of Williams, he’s working with a young and rebuilding team, but that defense doesn’t always save your job in the world of professional coaching.

Others who could get the heave-ho come later this week or soon after: Lindsey Hunter (Phoenix), Terry Stotts (Portland) and Dwayne Casey (Toronto).

So, any on the list or not on the list you think will get dunked once the season is over?

About the Author: With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers a variety of business topics for different sites, including VoIP origination.

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