With so many coaches on the hot seat, as usual, teams need to look for their replacements. There are many options. A team can hire an international coach, a college coach, or an assistant coach. They can also hire a coach who was an NBA head coach, but isn’t anymore. Here are some coaches who could be great for teams looking to go a different direction.
Stan Van Gundy
Sometimes, the most recent memory can ruin an impression. This is the case with Stan Van Gundy, as his most recent stint with the Pistons was a failure, as he only made the playoffs once in four tries. However, I don’t believe his coaching is the issue. I think the problem was that the Pistons hired him as a coach and team executive, which didn’t work. Before his tenure with the Pistons, he had a great run with the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic, turning both of those franchises around.
Lionel Hollins had a great run in Memphis, where he led them to a few playoff runs and they were always a tough out. One year they upset the Spurs in the first round, and another year they made a surprise run to the conference finals. He really changed the dynamic of the team by getting rid of Rudy Gay and making the team run through Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. I believe he can be a big help for teams who are in the playoffs, but not making any progress.
I don’t feel as confident about Avery Johnson as I do about the others on this list, but maybe some teams that really need to try something new should consider giving him a shot. He led the Mavericks to the finals in 2006, and he had some success with the Nets before being fired rather early into his tenure.
Frank Vogel had a great run in Indiana, as he successfully made the team into a more balanced team led by Paul George, Roy Hibbert, David West, and others. They had two eastern conference appearances, one where they took the Heat to 7 games. The Pacers missed their window with a lot of unfortunate events holding them back, but Vogel can clearly coach very well. He was unsuccessful with the Magic, but that wasn’t necessarily his fault. I think a team in the playoff chase that can’t compete with the league’s best should consider a coaching change to hire him.
David Blatt might have the best record of any coach who was fired in under two years of 80-40 in the regular season. He didn’t mesh well with Lebron, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad coach. He coached Maccabi Tel Aviv to a surprising championship in the Euroleague. His record in the Israeli League and Euroleague were excellent, at 179-21 and 90-52, respectively. Clearly he is a very good coach. I think an organization that wants a coach to establish a system and balanced team can benefit from Blatt.
Firing a coach is always tough, because the question is what to do now. I however believe teams shouldn’t be scared of firing their coach if the team hasn’t made any progress over a few years. Even teams who consistently make the playoffs but struggle to make it to the second round for multiple years should strongly consider a coaching change, and these coaches might help them get over the hump.
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