Blogtable: It’s Tough Being A Coach

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Week 11: Kevin Garnett is … | Encouraging signs for Lakers? | Next coach to go

Mike Brown, Avery Johnson, now Scott Skiles: Next? Please explain.

Steve Aschburner: Maybe we should note the specifics of those situations, with Mike Brown‘s firing a panic move, Johnson’s pink slip driven by unrealistic expectations of his bosses and Skiles’ departure a mutal thing set up by his lame-duck contract status. Then again, maybe those are distinctions without differences. Coaches topple every season and someone surely is next. Hate bandying about a fellow’s job security but I wonder how patient the Maloofs will be with Keith Smart in Sacramento (with DeMarcus Cousins as an X-factor in this dynamic). I also wonder how much improvement John Wall really will bring in Washington – without a big bump, Randy Wittman could be getting cross-eyed looks too. Guess I’m going with one of the former Hoosiers not named Mike Woodson.

Fran Blinebury: The obvious choice would seem to be Randy Wittman as the Wizards wallow at the bottom of the standings, but it’s happening without John Wall.  So here’s a wild thought.  If the Lakers continue going completely over the cliff, how long can they keep selling Mike D’Antoni as the answer?

Jeff Caplan: I’m not going with probably the most obvious name, Washington’s Randy Wittman, because of all the injuries. I think he’s used like 15 different starting point guards already. And, hey, he’s worked wins over Miami and Oklahoma City. Let him get John Wall in there and see if they can catch a spark. In the East, of the teams in the playoff mix, Milwaukee and Brooklyn have already done the deed. The teams out of the playoff mix have relatively new coaches. And then there’s Byron Scott in Cleveland, who in my estimation is running neck-and-neck with Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry in the West.

Scott Howard-Cooper: I guess we’re not saying Vinny Del Negro anymore. In that case, Randy Wittman. Once John Wall returns, possibly by the end of the week, the Wizards need to show considerable improvement. It’s one thing to be on 12-win pace with a beat-up roster, but quite another if this path continues for much longer.

Sekou Smith: Plenty of coaches should be worried now that guys whose teams are playing .500 or better are getting their walking papers. Judging a coach based solely on his team’s record, however, seems like a thing of the past. There’s so much more involved these days, what with all of the advanced metrics involved in the game today. It takes a very particular set of circumstances for a franchise to make a coaching change. We could pick on Alvin Gentry in Phoenix or even Randy Wittman in Washington, guys who have been in place for a while now and still haven’t been able to guide their teams out of the basement of their respective conferences. Skiles going was a bit of a surprise. But Brown and Johnson came into the season with more pressure on them than any other pair of coaches in the league. The expectations for both teams were enormous. So you knew if they struggled or failed to measure up to those expectations, there was a chance they could get popped. Beyond those obvious situations, however, there aren’t any glaring candidates for the coaching hot seat right now.


  1. Jumpman16 says:

    If they don’t have coaches, they will definitely try to hire one

  2. What if NBA teams didn't have Coaches? says:

    And all teams played street ball for 82 games and the playoffs……..

    Where would you expect current teams to rank?

    If your team is playing above that expectation level, you have a good coach. If they’re below, you have a bad coach.

    If they’re where you expected, but not top 6, you need a few pieces to be a championship team

    If your team has had low expectations for 4-5 years, you need a new General Manager.

    Blame Byron Scott and Randy Wittman all you want, but Cleveland and Washington have talent and chemistry issues,
    just like every other team below .500

    Alvin Gentry isn’t the problem, Phoenix needs Beasley to step up and be the 20-6-5 guy he can be,

    and the Lakers… well…You don’t just have a coach problem, you have a complete catastrophe.

  3. Raf says:

    Byron Scott is a good coach. His young guys are developing well. Anyone could look at that roster before the season and say ‘where’s the scoring?”. They weren’t built to contend yet (especially not with all these Varejao and Irving injuries). They were built to give Irving, Waiters, Thompson every chance to play, develop, TRY to win without necessarily havig the tools to do it frequently.

    Alvin Gentry is a good coach. No-one would do significantly better with the poor roster he has. Unless he asked them to sign Michael Beasley, in which case yeah they can get rid of him. What a mistake that was.

    The Lakers can’t afford to fire D’Antoni this season. If they miss the playoffs, though….

    I think Smart will go as part of the transition to Seattle in the off-season, and that Wittman will be next to be sacked (I doubt the Wizards will significantly improve when Wall returns).

  4. amitpal says:

    The question should be how many owners should be fired. Cuz some of these teams have made some real dumb mistakes and although some could be gm and coaches a lot has to be on the owners who have the final say on everything.

    • alex says:

      that’s just stupid! how r u gonna fire the boss? it;s not like the military where u can have a mutiny, pls think before posting!

  5. Andy says:

    Does the Kings coach answer that one of you submitted change because of the news of the sale of the Kings?

  6. JCsavior says:

    Max, though the horrendous spelling errors, I get what you’re saying and I very much agree. I’m not a Suns fan, and this franchise fell apart once Nash left. And this scenario of “let’s blame the coach” is prevalent in the NBA considering the owners’s expectations. The Suns are rebuilding, and yes they might fire Gentry for various reasons. Yet that doesn’t mean Gentry is a bad coach.
    Another example I can think of is Mark Cuban, only thing he’s very lucky he brought a championship to Dallas. Yet he failed to keep any of the key pieces after that, since he only has Dirk in his eyes. It’s Dirk’s team. TC, Barea, Caron Butler, Desean Stevenson, Brandon Haywood, Jason Kid, JET all left. So the question is after this season’s lost cause, can the Mavericks fans play the blame game on Carlie (typo)? No, bc Carlie is a great coach!

  7. Loic says:

    Next should e Coach D’Antoni. Hiring him was a BIG mistake by the LA management…

    • Nate says:

      Agree, I love his style of fast pace offense, but it’s not the correct style for LAL with the pieces they have.

  8. flamar says:

    this year should be called the year of coach killing

  9. […] Blogtable: It's Tough Being A (blog)Each week, we'll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below. Week 11: Kevin Garnett is … | Encouraging signs for Lakers? | Next …and more » […]

  10. Max says:

    Sorry for above article’s “typos”, spell check NOT working. Please allow the two/three typos. Once sent, then cannot be reworded.

  11. Max says:

    Alvin Gentry???Well take a look at the PHX’s Owner, R.S., he does not bring into OHX. any expesive peices to help the Suns, if a peice suddenly becomes worth a higher price???Well, the Owner trades the peice off. Dudley is now on the chopping block, because he as greatly improved since riding into the “Valley” from the “Bobcats, so now what will another team give the PHX. Owner? Lot like Cuban, the PHX. Owner, looks out for his own wallet, and PHX. has die hard fans, so, PHX. Owner cannot with a head held high place the blame on Gentry. Cannot make a team, IF a good peice is made, then traded away for more bucks. Steve Kerr made a short stop in PHX. but Steve knew he better hop on out of the Desert, an Owner controls the contracts and it is his team. PHX. Owner??well he likes the game, no doubt, but only IF the peices of the team are NOT way expensive,because so far Sun’s fans still buy tickets and still remain vested in praise of their Suns. So, who would Scarver shop to replace Gentry? Who would want to come to the Valley and know the History of the Owner???No line up waiting to bring their resume to “Cactus Land”. Only the current fired Coaches and one at least of those has already taken a tour in and out of the Valley. Gentry just plugs alone with what Players he is given and has to know, NO wonderful Player will be riding in, because a GREAT Player, will not waste time in PHX. IF he has a good Agent, PHX. would be a short stay and NOT look good on an above avg. Player’s resume. Fact is a Fact. Who would take the place of Alvin Gentry???? Go SUNS!!!! Yes, I drink the “coolaide”!!I purchase tickets, but most are owned by large corporations and used has give aways for customers spending Business time in the Valley, so empty seats can be seen, yet the announcer can say, “YET AGAIN, A SOLD OUT CROWD????YES, seats are purchased as a draw for time in the land of warm winters. Check it out, best majority of great seats in PHX. belong to Companies from far away places. Give away draws for Business.

  12. Kamote says:

    Much like the players, coaches are also ranked by the skills that they have: the so-so coaches, surprising, good enough, playoffs and championship coaches. It is more on the teams’ expectation rather than who their coach is.

    You can’t ask Pop to lead the Bobcats, Wiz or Cavs… LAL fired a good playoff coach in Brown because he can’t win the ring (same with D’Antoni, just wait)… P. Jackson is gold (and he can call the shots)… Vinny won’t win the ring this year and will get fired next year because the bar was just too high for LAC… Skiles can lead, but not an NBA championship team, or a re-rebuilding team for that matter… Brooks will eventually have a target on his back once its contract time for KD, Westbrook and Ibaka… Doc will get out once KG is gone… Adelman will burn-out leading an undermanned team… Sloan will probably coach again, but in his terms.

    • zgillet says:

      That’s… incredibly correct.

    • Eli Odell J. says:

      smart guy, i think you right buddy
      cept for sloan, he’s done, i could be wrong though

      • Kamote says:

        yeah, i really hope you are haha. I mean, he’s a great coach. I was an MJ fan, but I can’t help loving Sloan. I hope he gets a team he can lead to get the ring that’s elusive to him.

  13. steppx says:

    washington is cheap, which is why whitman was hired in the first place. He stays. Keith Smart for the same reason, but Cousins is the X factor, as someone above said. I think By Scott is safe, they’re rebuilding and cavs have played well at times. I think Gentry is gone…but at the end of the season. I would hope ty corbin is going to go, but i doubt it….not impossible though. Dwayne Casey is a guy to watch. The Gm could be a short timer and thats the case, then Casey might get the ax, too.