It may be a little bit early to look at coaches around the NBA that may be in danger of losing their jobs but as Mike Brown proved, there is no real timeline for when a change may be made.
As the old saying goes, “you can’t fire the players.”
Here’s a list of coaches who are feeling the heat early in the NBA season:
Byron Scott, Cleveland Cavaliers — Now in his third season as the head coach in Cleveland, Scott has led the Cavaliers to a 42-114 record in the post-LeBron James era. Could someone else have done more with this squad? Maybe, but this team was built to bottom out so it’s not entirely his fault.
What Scott should be measured by is the development of the four first-round picks the team has added to the roster over the past two years. Kyrie Irving has been a stud and Dion Waiters has also been solid early but Tristan Thompson has only shown a slight improvement from Year 1 to Year 2.
It is not Scott’s fault that his team may have reached on Thompson but if he doesn’t make the leap soon, Scott may pay for it.
Keith Smart, Sacramento Kings — It’s really hard to blame Keith Smart for the Kings’ issues. The roster is poorly constructed and the franchise seems to constantly be in a state of flux as the Maloofs seem to enjoy playing Chinese water torture with the team’s fan base.
That said, this team is currently sitting last in a tough Western Conference with a 4-10 record. Oddly enough, that would put them in 12th place in the weaker East.
Vinny Del Negro, Los Angeles Clippers — The Clippers have not exactly stormed out of the gate this season (8-6) and it appears as though all of the players are not behind Del Negro. Blake Griffin openly questioned his coach’s strategy after Monday’s loss to the New Orleans Hornets.
“I think we tried to change some things, tried to change our schemes and some things we have been successful at and that hurt us,” Griffin told the Los Angeles Daily News.
The one thing that people have to remember with regards to the Clippers is that this is a team that must keep impending free agent Chris Paul happy. If Del Negro loses his backing, he could be looking for work.
Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors — I don’t think the Raptors are going to make a change just yet but the team has struggled to a 3-13 start. There are plenty of options for the team to try before they go down this route — a trade, a signing or two; or a new general manager.
Rumours have the Raptors signing veteran small forward Mickael Pietrus to try and help fill that hole but it remains to be seen how much the 32-year-old has in the tank.
The team has been shorthanded all season but at some point you have to figure the team’s new ownership group will want to see some results from the Raptors.
If the Raptors fail to get a win against the struggling Phoenix Suns on Friday all bets are off though as they head on the road for another five games.
Randy Wittman, Washington Wizards — The Wizards coach held a closed-door meeting with his team on Tuesday to allow his players to speak their mind and it paid off as they recorded the first win of the season on Wednesday, knocking off Portland 86-84.
“Martell (Webster) stepped up on the floor and told him, ‘You can’t take responsibility for everything because you’re not the one playing,’” Rookie guard Brad Beal told the Washington Post.
Prior to losing John Wall and Nene to injuries, this team looked like it could potentially push for the No. 8 playoff spot but at the moment they are securely tucked at the bottom of the NBA standings.
Wittman always seemd like a questionable hire down in the Beltway Capital but he will likely get a pass for a while as long as Wall remains out.
Mike D’Antoni, Los Angeles Lakers — This is a bit tongue-in-cheek, of course, but the Lakers haven’t exactly set the world on fire under D’Antoni.
In five games they are currently 2-3, a game better than deposed head coach Mike Brown’s 1-4 record. You could point to Stebve Nash’s absence as an issue but the same could be said during Brown’s rein.
I am guessing that D’Antoni has a longer leash than Brown did but if this keeps up, how long will it be before the home crowds start chanting Phil Jackson’s name as they did after Brown was fired?