During the 2022 NBA Playoffs, expectations are high for several head coaches; the top 3 NBA coaches on the hot seat will be discussed here. Head coach Billy Donovan and the Chicago Bulls lost in five games of their first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks. Though, the team finished with over 45 wins for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
Donovan’s job is likely safe for now. Furthermore, how about Steve Nash? The Brooklyn Nets were the favorites to win the Eastern Conference. But one could argue that COVID-19, injuries and trade distractions derailed their season. Also, this disappointment could have stemmed from a team chemistry problem.
Even after trading away Ben Simmons and James Harden, the Nets were still not as cohesive with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Per credible sources, after a 44-win season, Nash’s job is safe. Nah, the top candidates here include Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers, Atlanta’s Nate McMillan and Utah’s Quinn Snyder.
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First off, 76ers’ head coach Doc Rivers was hired by the organization on Oct. 1, 2020. In his first season coaching the Sixers, the team finished 49-23 (.681). They ranked first overall in the East and defeated the Wizards in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. Nonetheless, things took a turn for the worse when the Hawks pushed them to a Game 7 in the conference semifinals.
The Hawks went into Wells Fargo Center and defeated the 76ers 103-96. This is exactly why he’s on our top 3 NBA coaches on the hot seat list.
Now, fast forward to this season, the 76ers closed out their regular season 51-31 (.622). They have the second-best record in the conference, but expectations are so high from this fanbase. Rivers has not won a championship since the 2008 NBA Finals.
Tonight, the 76ers play the Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at 7:30 p.m. ET. This contest can be watched live on TNT. If the Sixers lose another playoff series, that might be it for Rivers.
Moreover, was the Hawks’ first-round series loss versus the Heat the last straw for head coach Nate McMillan? On July 5, 2021, McMillan became the team’s interim head coach after the organization fired Lloyd Pierce. Fans were not expecting much. After all, since the team had only 14 wins, the coach was placed in an undesirable spot.
Fortunately, Atlanta got hot at the right time. They finished 41-31 (.569), and the team ranked fifth overall in the conference. Plus, as stated above, they managed to upset the 76ers in seven games of the conference semifinals.
While the Hawks lost in six games against the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals, they were not supposed to make it past the Sixers to begin with. To the fanbase, the season was a surprising success. Having said all of this, the Hawks in the 2021-22 season went 43-39 (.524).
After losing in five games in the first round against the Heat, McMillan might be in over his head. Travis Schlenk, the president and general manager of the Hawks, is demanding a championship. The Atlanta Braves won the 2021 World Series, so where does this leave the city’s professional basketball team?
Lastly, if there’s any coach that makes his team’s NBA season play out like the 1993 film Groundhog Day, it has to be Quinn Snyder. The Jazz head coach has been there since June of 2014. Since the 2016-17 season, the team has made the playoffs each year.
Despite qualifying for the postseason all those seasons, Utah never made it to the Western Conference Finals. The team either got eliminated in the first round or during the conference semifinals. They have been consistently mediocre in the playoffs.
As for this season, the Mavericks bested them in six games of their first-round playoff series. On Dec. 15, 2021, the Jazz hired former Celtics’ president and general manager Danny Ainge to serve as the team’s alternate governor and president of basketball operations.
In the coming weeks, Ainge can pull the plug on Snyder at any time. Utah has remained competitive during Snyder’s tenure, but a championship-or-bust mindset is a better philosophy for a playoff contender. In other news, if he gets fired, the Lakers would be interested. To learn more about other NBA coaches on the hot seat, go to the main page of The Sports Daily.