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Four coaches that could be on the hot seat in the NBA

NBA head coaches Danny Bollinger / Flickr


NBA Head Coaches on the Hot Seat

Last year during the 2016-17 NBA season, none of the 30 NBA head coaches were fired.

October 22nd, the Phoenix Suns decided to part ways with head coach Earl Watson. Watson struggled to coach the young Suns team, which led to a 0-3 start.  The former guard finished with a combined 33-85 record as the head coach.

A month later the Memphis Grizzlies fired head coach David Fizdale who led the team to the playoffs his first season.  Fizdale served as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, and the Miami Heat.

As much as I love the toughness and grit that the Grizzlies bring as an organization, I disagree with the firing of Fizdale. The Los Angeles native led the team to the playoffs during his first season. You can argue that the team was already set in place, but Memphis has always struggled with offense down the stretch.

The team struggled to stretch the floor for their former power forward Zach Randolph and current center Marc Gasol. The franchise tried to build around the two for the past few years. After last season management decided to let it go.

Randolph, Gasol and Michael Conley scored a combined average of 54.1 ppg, while the rest of the team averaged 50 points. No one outside of the big three averaged double figures, but I digress.

As of now, it looks like Memphis will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season. Management may want to consider moving Colony and Gasol.

With Christmas vastly approaching let’s take a look at NBA head coaches who are on the hot seat:

NBA head coaches and the hot seat:

Fred Hoiberg: Chicago Bulls (6-20)

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This may be a shock to people who love statics and numbers. A lot of people including myself have jumped to a conclusion and expect Bulls management to fire Hoiberg. If you have jumped to the same conclusion, follow your instinct you’re right.

Currently, the Bulls are on a three-game win streak and are in 14th place in the Eastern Conference with a 6-20 record. Management hired Hoiberg after parting ways with Tom Thibodeau who coached in Chicago for five years.

Since taking over the Bulls in 2015, Hoiberg has a combined record of 83-81 and has made the playoffs once out of his two years in Chicago.

Despite having a record of .506 the former Iowa State coach seems to struggle with player personalities and commanding the locker room.

Think about it under his watch Rajon Rondo, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade have called each other out on social media. Not to mention Bobby Portis broke Nikola Mirotic’s jaw.  It’s obvious that Hoiberg knows the game of basketball and can coach, but maybe not as an NBA head coach. Also, it will be a tough process of rebuilding and I don’t see him connecting with the players.

Bold Prediction: The Bulls will miss the playoffs and management will part ways with the third year coach at the end of the season.

Alvin Gentry: New Orleans Pelicans (14-14)

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Entering into his third season as head coach of the Pelicans, Alvin Gentry is on the brink of the hot seat. Gentry was an assistant coach on the 2014-15 Golden State Warriors championship team.

Gentry has always been praised for his offensive mind and sense of pace. However, he has struggled to get the best out of an ill-equipped Pelicans roster. During the 2015-16 season, he had no offensive firepower. Well, let’s just say healthy firepower.

Outside of forward Anthony Davis, Gentry didn’t have another star caliber player to help carry the load. Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans tried to carry the load the best they could.

Davis carried the team averaging 24.3 points during the 2015-16 season.  Former Kentucky forward was the only player to average more than 20 points per game. Anderson averaged 17 points making him the second option. (“On Paper”)

The team struggled with health which affected the team’s chemistry. Ish Smith, Alonzo Gee, Dante Cunningham were the only players who played 70 or more games.  It’s hard to win without chemistry, a solid bench and consistency.

Last season the team struggled with the same issues but switched it up by adding Lance Stephenson and trading for DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins. This trade provided Gentry with another season because of the fact that they acquired the center during the half-way mark of the season.

The team would miss the playoffs. This season the Pelicans are 14-14 placing them in 7th in the Western Conference. With trade rumors swirling around Cousins and Davis it must add more pressure for the former Suns head coach. However, the two won’t be traded as long as the team keeps winning.

Since taking over the coaching job in 2015, Gentry has a 64-100 combined record.

Bold Prediction: This is the year the Pelicans will make the playoffs and make some noise. As long as Boogie, Davis, Rondo and Holiday are healthy this team has a chance.  New Orleans will finish with the six seed due to Denver, Portland, and Utah falling off during the second half of the season.  Which means Gentry will remain on the hot seat a little longer.

Doc Rivers: Los Angeles Clippers (10-15)

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Sorry, Doc it’s about that time. (Pun Intended)  Last year the Clippers lost in the opening round against the Utah Jazz. Despite Utah’s offensive power, the team struggled with defense. Yes, Rivers had to adjust his game plan after losing Blake Griffin after game three.

However, at some point, you have to prepare for injury. During the 2015-16 season, both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were out due to injury. Injuries happen, however, the franchise has prolonged addressing their small forward issue.

Management should have considered signing forward Rudy Gay or addressing their need via trade. As of now Rivers has a coaching record of 217-111, which is impressive but the losses seem to pile up during critical moments. (Playoffs)

Right now the Clippers formerly known as Lob City are struggling and have a 10-15 record. Life without Chris Paul has been tough for “Lob City”.  Oh yeah, Blake Griffin is injured yet again and will miss significant time.

Bold Prediction: Doc Rivers will be relieved of his duties after the all-star break and will receive another head coaching job somewhere close to Florida.

Rick Carlisle: Dallas Mavericks (8-20)

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I know, I know, before you get upset and knock over your juice on your brand new laptop hear me out.  It’s about that time; it seems like the Mavericks haven’t made the playoffs in years, but in reality, last year was the first time they missed the playoffs since the 2012-13 season.

Carlisle will go down as one of the all-time great Maverick coaches, but the organization has not made it out of the first round of the playoffs since they won the championship against the Miami Heat during the 2010-11 season.

The team has struggled to find their new identity. Carlisle has the team playing tough, but it just seems like their pour choices are catching up with them. Granted it’s not their fault that DeAndre Jordan got homesick.

Spending max money on Harrison Barnes has not helped. However, the team has bright spots in Dennis Smith Jr., Yogi Ferrell, Seth Curry (when healthy), and Dwight Powell. As sad as it may be Carlisle may not be the best option for a rebuilding process.

I do expect the New York native to coach a contending team after he leaves Dallas.

Bold Prediction 1:

Rick Carlisle and management (Mark Cuban) will mutually agree to part ways after this season.  Especially since the 58-year-old coach helped Dirk Nowitzki capture his first title.

Will any of these NBA head coaches be fired?

Which of these NBA head coaches are you rooting for the most?

Bold Prediction 2:

None of the NBA head coaches will coach past the 2018-19 season.

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You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram to talk sports at @Zack_Rogers5