Which Coaches Might Not Make It Through The Season?, Part II

Golden State Warriors Head Coach Don Nelson shouts directions against the Utah Jazz in the second half at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California on April 13, 2010. Nelson, with 1,334 wins holds the NBA

When discussing coaches on the hot seat, consider Don Nelson's butt on fire. (Source: Yardbarker.com)

In the first part, we looked at the coaches in good positions, but today we look at the ones in bad and ugly situations.  We went over those who were Bulletproof, 95% Bulletproof (aka Impervious), Pretty Safe and Fairly Safe.  Note that this is NOT about which coaches are good or bad, simply what the chances are that they get fired during the season.

Maybe Safe… Um, Maybe Not:

Jim O’Brien – Pacers: They’ve been mediocre for several years now and Bird hasn’t fired O’Brien yet.  Although the addition of new exciting young point guard Darren Collison gives hope for the future, there’s no reason to expect this team to be any better this season without a halfway decent power forward, so unless the team’s significantly worse than last year, O’Brien should make it through the season.

John Kuester – Pistons: The team was pretty bad last year so expectations are really low outside the organization.  However it’s unlikely they’re hit with quite as many injuries as the year before, so I expect them to do better this season.  However, if vets Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace and Tayshaun Prince don’t see enough of an improvement, they might get pretty cranky, which’d force Joe Dumars’ hand.

Monty Williams – Hornets: This team needs to be good or Chris Paul will resume his trade desires.  If they start out poorly, don’t be surprised if Monty gets the hook quick, so perhaps he should be considered to be in “The Hot Seat.”  However, if CP3, Trevor Ariza, Marcus Thornton, David West and Emeka Okafor all are healthy, it’s hard to see this team not taking a step forward.

Doug Collins – Sixers: Normally a coach in his first season with a mediocre team shouldn’t be in the “Maybe Not Safe” section ‘cuz it’d be odd to fire him so soon if the team is well, mediocre.  Yet that’s exactly what they did last year with Eddie Jordan.  That said, Rod Thorn is now in charge and as he showed during his tenure in Jersey, he’s a pretty savvy GM.  I imagine he’ll let Collins at least finish out the season.  Then again, Thorn didn’t personally hire Collins, so who knows what he thinks about Dougie.

Flip Saunders – Wizards: Expectations have gone up with top pick John Wall now in town.  Last year Flip had trouble bringing out the best in Gilbert Arenas and creating chemistry amongst the players.  Late in the season, Andray Blatch, who had started to break out, refused to go back into a game when Saunders asked him.  That’s not good.  But the young Wall has shown not only is he skilled and athletic, but he’s also a good leader.  Likewise, new addition Kirk Hinrich is the cliched ultimate professional who should help keep everyone focused too.  If Josh Howard can come back and JaVale McGee can continue his growth, Flip could surprise some people with this team.

Hot Seat:

Larry Drew – Hawks: They were a top four team last season.  Since they didn’t really lose any key players, if they don’t maintain that level, Drew could be gone by mid-season.  Plus with Jamal Crawford saying he wants to be traded if the team won’t give him an extension, there could already be tension in the locker room.  Not a great situation for a rookie coach to walk into.

Kurt Rambis – Twolves: They sucked last year, and there’s no good reason on earth to believe they won’t suck just as slurpily this year too.  I like Rambis, but I don’t think the triangle offense is good for his personnel.  Then again, nothing could help this bunch.  On the other hand, David Kaaaaahn has shown that he’s highly illogical, so who knows what he’ll do, or if he’ll notice, if the team only wins two games again this year.

Paul Westphal – Kings: They’re not expected to be very good, but the hope is that they’ll be at least better than last season.  If Westy can’t get production and a positive attitude from rookie DeMarcus Cousins, could the cowbells toll for him?  Even so, it seems chances are decent that he at least makes it through the season since the Maloofs and all Sacramentoians know this team is far from being a contender for a playoff spot.

Jay Triano – Raptors: Yeah, with Bosh gone the expectations are low so you might think he should get a pass if the team’s bad this year.  Well, how about the fact that if he’d made this team respectable over the past season and a half, maybe Bosh wouldn’t have departed?  With Bryan Coalangelo on the last year of his contract, he’s gotta show the future is gonna be different.  That might well start with the coach.

Don Nelson – Warriors: It depends on how long it takes for the new ownership to get approval.  If somehow they don’t get it this season, Nelson makes it out alive.  If it takes a really long time so that most of the season is gone, would they possibly just let him finish off his term or would they axe him just to show the fans that change is coming?  Guess it would depend on how the team’s fared so far.  But if the owners take over within the next two months, it seems like bye bye, Donnie.

Topics: Atlanta Hawks, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, David Kahn, DeMarcus Cousins, Detroit Pistons, Don Nelson, Doug Collins, Flip Saunders, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Jamal Crawford, Jay Triano, Jim O'Brien, John Kuester, John Wall, Kurt Rambis, Larry Drew, Minnesota Timberwolves, Monty Williams, New Orleans Hornets, Paul Westphal, Philadelphia Sixers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards

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