NBA Head Coaches On The Hot Seat In The Playoffs

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Head Coaches On The Hot Seat In The Playoffs


NBA Head Coaches On The Hot Seat In The Playoffs


The NBA playoffs officially kick off this weekend and while the final bracket is still being finalized, most of the matchups are set. Every season we see top teams fall short of their expected goals come playoff time and every year we see teams make dramatic coaching changes. Sometimes a new voice is what is needed within a locker room and normally a coaching switch is the first domino to fall. As the playoffs get started here soon, there are some coaches that could be sent away if their team falls short. Here are the top coaches on the hot seat entering the 2023 NBA playoffs.

Mike Malone, Denver Nuggets

Malone has helped lead the Nuggets to the best record out West and the first seed in the playoffs. This is the best chance the Nuggets have to do damage in the playoffs so if they fall short again, it could be curtains for him.

Now between the others on the list, I don’t believe that Malone is at fault completely but the Nuggets organization will likely look to do something. They enter the playoffs with two-time MVP Nikola Jokić having his two partners in crime in Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray. This is the first time that all three are healthy for a postseason since they went to the Western Conference Finals in 2020.

It’s now or never for Denver otherwise Malone very well could be ousted from the Mile High City.

Doc Rivers, Philadelphia 76ers

The entire Philadelphia 76ers organization is on the hot seat if we are being honest. Star Joel Embiid could get frustrated and ask out, James Harden could walk, and the team could move on from Rivers if they flame out in the postseason again.

This team enters the playoffs as the third seed in the Eastern Conference and this is their best shot at a title run with Embiid and Harden running the show. It was rumored that the 76ers were possibly considering moving on from Rivers last offseason but brought him back to lead the ship of a full season from the two star players.

In my opinion, anything less than a conference finals appearance and Rivers will be out of Philadelphia. Even a conference finals appearance may not be enough to salvage his job. The 76ers have consistently fallen short year after year and something needs to change. Rivers would likely be that first change to happen.

Tyronn Lue, Los Angeles Clippers

It sounds kind of crazy to think that Lue could be on the hot seat but it’s the truth. This is his third season as the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers and the team has fallen short of their championship dreams every year. They did make the conference finals for the first time in franchise history back in 2021 but that is the farthest they have gone.

Lue is one of the better in-game coaches at making adjustments but for all his success, the Clippers once again fell flat this year. They enter the playoffs as the fifth seed in the Western Conference despite having their star players for much of the year. Los Angeles will be taking on the Phoenix Suns in the first round, without the services of Paul George. If they can get past the Suns, then the Clippers may be able to get George back. But Kawhi Leonard is healthy and the team has plenty of depth around him.

This is a team built on depth and defense but it hasn’t translated to much. I understand that injuries have limited this teams overall ceiling but at some point, we have to stop giving them a pass. Every team has dealt with injuries and are held to higher standards. Lue enters this postseason on the hot seat and the team could look to make a change if they fall short again.


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