Coaches on the Hot Seat

by Allen Kim / @_allenkim

It’s no secret that the head coaching position in the NBA is tumultuous.

In the last two decades, there have been over 200 changes at the head of the table. Not exactly the sort of stability required to run a successful franchise.

It’s not really fair for a coach to have his position in jeopardy after a few losses, but such is the life of a NBA head coach. The front-office continually puts on pressure to win now, and there is generally little patience for losing.

Some coaches have already outlived their welcome, while others have been disappointments. When the team is losing, fingers are almost always pointed at the man drawing up the plays.

If these coaches don’t find a way to turn their teams around soon, it won’t be long before they’re on the chopping block.

John Kuester, Detroit PistonsJohn Kuester

Record: 5-8

Temperature: Hot

The Pistons are off to a poor start to the season and there is turmoil brewing in Motor City.

Tayshaun Prince, one of the few remaining players from the Pistons’ championship team, has been in two public feuds with coach Kuester.

In a loss to the Warriors, the two had to be separated and Kuester even asked a security guard to remove Tayshaun from the bench (Prince remained in the game).

While they’ve reconciled their differences in the public spotlight, chances are, they still bear ill sentiments toward one another. With every loss that mounts, things will continue to get worse.

The players clearly do not support Kuester as coach and the time has come for a change.

Among the many criticisms lobbed at the team, Kuester’s erratic rotations, in particular, have come under heavy scrutiny.

Joe Dumars is already on thin ice with all the disastrous moves he’s made in the past few years, and if he wants to save his job and the Pistons’ season, Kuester needs to go.

If the team has quit on coach Kuester this early in the going, how can they expect to win on a consistent basis? This is a sinking ship and axing Kuester is the life line that’s needed to salvage what’s left of the season.

Mike D’Antoni, New York Knicks

Current Record: 6-8

Temperature: Warm

The Knicks stumbled out of the gate and the Fire D’Antoni Army appears to be growing by the day. The team has had several late game collapses and this is not the start that rabid Knicks’ fans were expecting coming into the season.

While D’Antoni made the smart decision to start Landry Fields at the 2, he stuck with Timofey Mozgov at the center position for too long. The experiment was a disaster and it was obvious from the get go that Ronny Turiaf was the one that rightfully deserved the start.

But, even with their poor start, the Knicks are clawing their way toward a winning record. Coming off a successful west coast road trip with a three-game winning streak, D’Antoni’s critics are quietly festering in a corner waiting for him to slip up.

New York has four winnable games coming up, and if they can finish the month with a record at or above .500, they should be in good shape. D’Antoni will need the team to get every last win because the month of December is a brutal one for the Knicks. Eight of their 13 games are against playoff teams, and if they want to keep hopes of a playoff berth alive, they’ll need to scrap their way to break even.

D’Antoni has one foot in the door, and one foot out. Donnie Walsh miraculously pieced together the current roster, and now that Pringles has the pieces to compete, there are no more excuses.

Vinny Del Negro, Los Angeles Clippers

Record: 2-13

Temperature: Blistering

Vinny Del Negro is not head coach material. Simple as that.

A talented Bulls roster masked his incompetency in Chicago, but his short tenure in L.A. has exposed him.

Los Angeles gives up 105.7 points per game while only scoring 96.9 points. Their -8.8 point differential is second worst in the League, and their record in last place.

While the Clippers roster is young, the squad is more talented than their current record indicates. The team has also faced some injuries, but it’s not like they’re the only ones.

The Clippers are off to their worst start in 12 years with their current 2-13 record. That is a particularly awful distinction to have when you’re coaching one of the worst franchises in the NBA.

When the Kurt Rambis-led Timberwolves have a better record, then you know something is seriously wrong.

A win against the streaking Hornets kept Vinny’s head off the block, at least for the time being, but if the Clippers continue to play like they have all season, it won’t be long before the “fire Vinny” chants begin.

At this pace, Clippers’ fans will be counting the lottery balls praying to land Harrison Barnes in the Draft.