Blog Entry

Pop Quiz: Which coach is on the hot seat?

Posted on: September 8, 2010 5:56 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 9:50 pm
Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Which coach has the hottest seat going into the season?

Scott Brooks.

No kidding, you have to put Scott Brooks on this list. Even though he's been instrumental in taking a team with nothing but young players and turning them into a playoff team that looks every bit ready to challenge for a Western Conference title, Brooks has to be on this list. Why? Because he was so good last year he won the career death sentence: the Coach of the Year award. Let's take a look at the previous winners, shall we?

Mike Brown: canned.

Byron Scott: deleted.

Sam Mitchell: terminated.

Avery Johnson: gonezo.

Yeesh. Watch your back, Scottie.

Okay, besides the superstition, who's actually in danger of losing their gig this year? Here are four candidates.

Jay Triano: It's been stunning how Triano has managed to avoid harsh criticism for his squad's performance which helped lead to Chris Bosh's departure without so much as a consideration for staying in Toronto. Brian Colangelo takes all the blame for constructing a spineless defensive team with too many inconsistencies offensively, despite acquiring Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans and being willing to spend for Hedo Turkoglu (who despite all his problems, was a legit quality free agent last summer). Yet Triano's team wound up with the worst defensive marks in the league, falling out of the playoffs down the stretch, and he walked away largely unscathed. Now the Raptors are suffering with a significant lack of talent, and often, guys who underperformed with talent end up getting removed when they actually have good reasons for underperforming... much like Triano faces this season.

John Kuester: The offensive wiz of a team now considered to be one of the greater disappointments of the last decade had a rough opening season. Injuries and subpar play from their big free agents (which most people saw coming outside of the Pistons, though not to the degree) played a part, but this is a cold hearted business that very rarely provides reasonable responses to legitimate causes for losing. If Kuester can't get the Pistons turned around with that payroll, his reputation may not spare him from the axe of Joe Dumars.

Flip Saunders: If anyone in the entire league has an excuse for struggling through two seasons, it's got to be Saunders. Saunders was at the helm for one of the most disastrous seasons in league history last year, and had to preside over the meltdown, grin, and bear it as all his talent was shipped out in a rebuilding plan. John Wall was a Godsend, but Saunders has to deal with re-integrating Gilbert Arenas, containing the combustible Andray Blatche, and trying to move the franchise forward with John Wall. Throw in new majority ownership from Ted Leonsis, and Saunders may have too much stacked against him to survive a poor start, fair or not.

Jim O'Brien: Larry Bird has committed to O'Brien, has stayed by his side, and recently gave him a vote of confidence. But he's in the last year of his deal, which makes letting him go much easier to swallow. On top of that, the questions about talent are no longer going to valid this year. The Pacers now feature a legit center in Roy Hibbert, a legit star forward in Danny Granger, and a star point guard in Darren Collison. If O'Brien can't make this team work in a thin Eastern Conference, with at least some improvement, Bird may run out of patience for him.

Since: Sep 14, 2010
Posted on: September 14, 2010 3:28 pm
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Since: Sep 14, 2010
Posted on: September 14, 2010 3:25 pm
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Since: Jan 15, 2009
Posted on: September 9, 2010 12:21 pm

Pop Quiz: Which coach is on the hot seat?

I can honestly say that I don't think Scott Brooks is on any kind of a hot seat at present. I mean, how can a guy be on a hot seat if he just won the NBA Coach of the Year award, has a young, up-and-coming team AND gets to have Kevin Durant? Brooks' seat is far from hot. Now, if the team struggles mightily this year, and it will take most of the year for this to play out, then perhaps (PERHAPS) Books will be on the hot seat then. But I think he coaches this entire season unless somehow this team completely tanks and misses the playoffs without injuries being a big factor. And in the West, you can miss the playoffs and still have a pretty decent team.

I'd put Don Nelson on this list, too, except for the fact that I think everybody knows this is his last year anyway. I was a big fan of Nellie's back when he was in Milwaukee. And he's done some great rebuilding jobs since then. But he's gone kind of mental the past few years. A great, Hall of Fame coach who has sort of lost his effectiveness and mental stability recently. It's too bad. I hope people remember him more for what he did in Milwaukee with the Bucks and Dallas with the Mavericks instead of the past few years.

I agree that Stan Van Gundy might be in danger, if things don't go right in Orlando. Also, Erik Spoelstra always has Pat Riley looking over his shoulder in Miami, and if those Big Three don't come out of the gate smoking (which is possible), then good old Erik may have a hard time staying employed in southern Florida.

And what about Cleveland? Well, if Byron Scott hadn't just signed a four-year contract, I'd say he might be on the hot seat, being the guy they chose to try to keep Lebron James from bolting. The cavs are going to fall off the face of the earth, and there's nothing Scott can do about it. If the Cavs don't show progress in years 2 and 3, Scott could be gone before his contract expires. He's safe for at least 2, and probably 3, years, though.

Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: September 9, 2010 12:47 am

Pop Quiz: Which coach is on the hot seat?

Good article on the whole but I would suggest that you have to add Erik Spoelstra to the list as well. Simply due to the fact that Miami is stacked with a trip of super-stars means that if anything at all goes wrong (whether that wrongness is media-created or genuine), Spoelstra could be a candidate for replacement. Especially since the team president is a guy named Riley who has both a sterling coaching reputation and a history of jumping back into the coaching seat at the expense of the current occupant (see the 2006 Miami title team he took over from Stan Van Gundy). 

i would also add Stan Van Gundy to the list of coaches on the hot seat. Orlando somewhat underachieved last season and although the loss of Hedo Turkoglu and the addition of Vince Carter probably had more to do with that than did Van Gundy, it is a fairly well-known fact that Van Gundy does not exactly enjoy the respect of all of his players. Orlando is supposed to be one of the three title contenders from the East and yet they have regressed since their Finals appearance in 2009. If Orlando falters this season, I would be unsurprised to see Van Gundy out of a job in the Magic Kingdom.

And I have to agree with the poster who put Don Nelson on the list as well, though I do not think Nelson is really on the hot seat - his career in Golden State is over regardless of what the team does this year. I would not be surprised to see the new ownership make a move before the season starts - I am somewhat surprised Nelson is still the head coach now. It is fairly obvious that he will not be the long-term answer for the Warriors and the only real reason to keep him is to make him work out his contract. For that reason, if Nelson is not let go by Opening Night, I expect that the new ownership in Oakland will allow him to coach out his contract and then they will make a move. 

As for Scott Brooks, I think that this year he is probably safe unless the bottom falls out in Oklahoma City, which is unlikely to happen. The team is solid and although they may take a step back, it is unlikely to be a big step - unless injuries hit the club. And even if the team has a rash of injuries, I would suspect Brooks is safe, since injuries are not usually held against a coach and Oklahoma City has been improving steadily. Now the 2011-2012 season is a different story, but I would say that Brooks is probably safe this season.

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: September 8, 2010 11:55 pm

Pop Quiz: Which coach is on the hot seat?

Triano has not been held accountable: possibly because he is a "Canadian who done good" coaching in Canada. He should be undrer scrutiny this year- the Raptors lost way too many close games.

Colangelo has done a decent job. He does not deserve to be taking the brunt of all this. Most have agreed with his decisions but Toronto still suffers from horrible decision making in the pre Colangelo era. They also have had some highly touted players come in and be huge busts- Calderon, Turkoglu, Reggie Evans to name just a few.

Less talent means the bar should be lowered for Triano but he should be able to show that his coaching decisions are winning some close games for the Raps- not losing consistently in the last few minutes of most games.

Since: Nov 6, 2009
Posted on: September 8, 2010 10:55 pm

Pop Quiz: Which coach is on the hot seat?

Don Nelson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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