It’s not easy being a professional head coach. When your team is winning, the credit is showered on the players for rising up to the challenge. In times of despair and losing, the coach is almost always the fall guy. Everything from lineups to tie selection is scrutinized beyond the point of reason. It’s a well-paying profession, but one that leads to sleepless nights and uncertainty over whether you’ll be employed tomorrow. At levels as high as the NBA, it’s a never-ending tightrope walk, and the coaches most likely to be fired may not be apparent until the moment the axe falls.
That’s evident after reviewing one simple fact — there are nine teams with new head coaches entering this season, meaning that almost one third of the NBA shook things up at the helm. There are plenty of familiar faces in this year’s coaching crop (Jason Kidd’s may be too familiar) alongside a few newcomers to the business, each looking to turn the fortunes of their respective franchises. If not, there’s a similar fate awaiting them all — unemployment.
Who’s the next man out the door in favor of fresh blood? No one can say with certainty, especially with two months still to go before the regular season begins. All we can do is speculate based on everything we know about each coaching situation, from players on hand to organizational expectation. Here are five likely candidates to get a swift kick in the rear at some point in the next year.