View Full Version : Pre-playoffs evaluation of coaching changes 2016

03-29-2016, 07:38 PM
There have been a LOT of changes this year.

Bulls ... Thibs is clearly missed. His time was clearly done with the players, but I don't think anybody would argue that the change is a clear upgrade.

Thunder ... New coach, some slight improvements, but still last in the NBA in passes and still suffering from 4th qtr collapses.

Cavs ... Blatt had a better winning percentage and got the team to the finals last year, Lue has had better health and Frye added and the team doesn't look to be gelling.

Knicks ... They were bad under Fischer and now are even worse ... and everyone is expecting another coaching change this offseason.

Nuggets ... The first coaching change on the list that fairly clearly is an improvement. 3 coaches in 2 years, 4 in 3, I suspect Malone will be there for a while.

Kings ... Disaster ... A new coaching search is already underway.

Magic ... Skiles appears to be working thus far, some of the moves made for roster changes were questionable, but generally going in the right direction.

TWolves ... Tragic start to the season, pretty clear they need to make a coaching change next year.

Rockets ... Bickerstaff has maybe shown an improvement lately, but clearly the roster needs an overhaul at least.

Nets ... Brown is just a place holder. They have actually played better since he took over, still the team is going to go through a hiring process next year.

Suns ... Hornacek lost the team and a change had to be made ... Watson and some roster changes seems to have maybe cooled off some of the issues and he may get the gig for next year too.

Pelicans ... Gentry doing worse than Williams, but the team still can't stay healthy.

More than 1/3 of the NBA changed coaches since the end of last season, and only 2 of the new coaches seem really safe in their gigs.


Who else is on the hot seat?

03-29-2016, 07:50 PM
I would say Byron Scott is at the very least, on a very hot seat.

03-29-2016, 07:55 PM
I would say Byron Scott is at the very least, on a very hot seat.

I find I can't predict the Lakers. They may still love Scott :)

Grizzlies Joerger could be on the hot seat for the 5th offseason in a row.

03-31-2016, 12:28 AM
There are some teams who had underwhelming seasons last year. Namely The Heat, The Pacers and The Pistons. All three kept the coaches they had, and all three have seen dramatic turnaround this year.

Other GMs/owners felt their coaches didn't do enough and fired them: OKC, Chicago, New Orleans, and the Kings.

None of those teams have seen improved based on the winning percentages their teams had under the coaches they fired.

As for mid-season firings, the Cavs and Suns dumped their coach, only to end up with lower percentages than they had before the firings, and the Kings hung their coach out to dry early, leaving the players to feast on him knowing he wouldn't be around long and letting them blame their failures on the coach instead of owning them themselves.

Case by case it works like this:


Heat: Injuries weighed them down. Riley knew THAT was the problem, and not coaching: kept his coach, made some signings, used his draft pick wisely, and built on what they had, maintaining their culture and team. Improved season.

Indy: Not just injuries, but player rifts slowed the team. Bird could have said that the coach lost the locker room, but instead he got rid of the troubled players. Team is healthy, and now better than they were last season.

Pistons: They were admittedly committed after giving SVG a healthy deal and were unlikely to fire him, but last year he had a worse winning percentage than the coach he had replaced. This year, the team is better than is has been since they trade Billups away.

Raptors: Had a strong showing in the regular season, then get thumped by the Wiz in the first round. Guys like George Karl and Rick Carlisle have been fired for that.... the Raps kept their coach, and the team is on pace for another division title, their best record ever, and their highest seeding ever.


OKC: They had a hard year with injuries last season. It was a wash. The result? They fire Brooks. The team is healthy now and is likely the best roster they've had since letting Harden go, especially in the front court and with respect to the number of spot up shooter they have. However, though they have a solid record, they are under .700, which is what Brooks had them up the three seasons leading up to the injury plagued season (which mind you was still over .500: more than most coaches would have done with a roster like that).

New Orleans: Like Chuck Daly had done with the Pistons in the 80's, Monty slowly helped this team get better each season, developing player and building chemistry. The GM was not always adding enough talent to improve, but the team still saw a modest and steady improvement each year. They fire him despite making the playoffs during a year where the team was plagued by injury. Their replacement has a far healthier roster, but barely gets half as many wins, and leads the team to their lowest winning percentage in 3 years.

Memphis: This was three years ago, mind you, but the Grizz had just come off THEIR BEST SEASON EVER. What do they do? Fire their coach? Why? Who knows. Three years later, they've yet to match that win total or return to the conference finals. Slow steps backwards, yes, but regression none the less.

Chicago: Thibs has a roster struggling with injuries and high turnover (GM keep shipping out talent). Still manages 50 wins and gets into the second round. Reward? Pink slip. This season, the new coach alienates players, puts a started like Noah on the bench, messes with team chemistry, player feuds are reported in the media, team struggled to stay at .500.


Cavs: on pace for 60 wins; fire coach. Now will struggle to win 55. Subsequent trade rumours fly, Kyrie unhappy with role; LBJ sending cryptic tweets. Team still favoured to win the conference, but nobody thinks they'll be able to handle whoever it is they meet in the finals, and they'll likely struggle to get there and need 7 games to handle a couple of teams.

Suns: Jeff Hornacek had an impressive first season as coach. Significant roster changes made it hard to maintain improvement but he had a steady record. GM alienates 'star' player; makes him impossible for Hornacek to manage. Refuses to trade him, then fires Horn; then trades player. No real improvement in level of play. Now, rather than having a consistent culture to build on, they have to start all over. Putting trouble player over coach leads to disaster.

Kings: Fired Mike Malone last year, despite a nearly .500 start to the season. Trouble player (DMC) in play? Who knows. Malone was doing a fine job, but the Kings didn't think he was improving the team fast enough (local Kings fans likely know more of the story). Bring in Karl: worse record than Malone. No improvement. This year, they let Karl out to dry early, destroying his authority and empowering troubled player run roughshod over the team. This gives the players and excuse to fail and a person to point to instead of taking ownership. The result? The team is a mess. Still. Six season into DMC's career, he still has yet to see the post season. Now a DMC trade is really the only option for this team, and all this despite the fact the team has its highest winning percentage in since 2008.


It seems pretty clear that having a consistent culture to build with, and having consistent leadership is key to winning. Looking at what the Heat have done, and the Spurs, there is little doubt. Other teams, like the Raptors, and Pistons, and Pacers, and even the Mavs, have all seen optimal success by maintaining a coach whose team may have underperformed one year.

The only instance in the entire league where a firing made sense and improved the team where it didn't look good on paper was the Warriors. With that, it seemed (though I disagreed with the move at first), that Jackson was alienating players in the locker room, and not implementing an offense that maximized the team's success. That said, it seems that with Barnes and Draymond improving, it was only logical that the team would have improved, and that Jackson may well have been able to get the team to a championship level (though I would not argue that he would have go them to where they are now).

Though teams might point to the Jackson firing as proof that they need to make changes, it seems clear that the Jackson/Kerr situation was an anomaly and that the general trends in the league point to creating consistency on the bench.

Do you think this year has proven that? Or are these firing simply necessary growing pain and an example of instances where people need to take one step back to make a leap forward?

03-31-2016, 04:58 AM
Makes sense to me. Nice thorough analysis. I worry for the Cavs. Plus look at the great coaches. Did the Spurs fire Popovic when they blew Game 6? Did the Lakers fire Phil when Boston defeated them?

03-31-2016, 06:20 AM
Kings are a... Malone was perfect for this team, but nooooo, they wanted a flashy fast paced offense, and cherry picking. It is how it is...

03-31-2016, 10:47 AM
This offseason we'll probably see at least 4 coaching changes ... maybe as many as 6 which is half as much as this year. Assuming those coaches are relatively safe are we going to enter a period of coaching stability?

Where is Thibs going to go? Is the broadcast pair of Jackson and JVG going to get a sniff of a job this year?

The Wolves and Lakers are the best jobs likely to be available.

03-31-2016, 04:05 PM
Can a mod merge this thread and this one http://forums.prosportsdaily.com/showthread.php?907217-Pre-playoffs-evaluation-of-coaching-changes-2016