NBA Hot Seat Rankings: Frank Vogel is feeling the heat
The NBA is already halfway through the season, and the division between contenders and also-rans is growing more evident by the day. While teams like the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, and Golden State Warriors are off to successful starts, many clubs are playing well-below expectations.
Let’s take a look at five coaches who may have to pay the price for their team's fading fortunes.
5. Jamahl Mosley (Orlando Magic)
The Orlando Magic are many years into a rebuild and new head coach Jamahl Mosley is being given plenty of grace in light of that reality, but at a miserable 7-34 and dead last in the league there is reason to wonder if this team has the right person to begin the ascent once the rebuild is complete.
The one thing that could save Mosley's job is the fact that Orlando has been beset with season-long injuries to players like Jonathan Issac and Markelle Fultz. Once they're back in the fold Mosley won't have any more excuses.
4. Willie Green (New Orleans Pelicans)
The Pelicans’ entire franchise was expected to thrive around young superstar Zion Williamson, but with their All-Star out for possibly the entire season, this team looks disappointing yet again. They are just 15-26, third from last in the Western Conference, and there's no indication there will be an immediate turnaround. Brandon Ingram continues to get his, but the team's depth is subpar and the defense is abysmal.
Green has been dealt a tough card without Williamson, but the team isn’t clicking and he appears unable to put together winning lineups with the pieces he does have.
3. Dwane Casey (Detroit Pistons)
The Detroit Pistons secured the first overall pick in last year’s draft, and it was hoped that Cade Cunningham would come in and potentially help this proud franchise become Eastern Conference playoff contenders once again.
However, at just 9-31, that is now a pipe dream. The development of Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart, and the young players on this roster will likely determine Casey’s fate moving forward. If they show continued development through this losing season, Casey may be given another year to try and win with this core, but if things look stagnant and young talent doesn’t show continued improvement then Casey is likely to be replaced.
2. Frank Vogel (Los Angeles Lakers)
The Los Angeles Lakers head coaching position will always come with pressure to win.
Just two years removed from a championship in the bubble, things look shaky in LA. The Lakers are in seventh place in the Western Conference standings, and with Russell Westbrook still a mercurial lightning rod and Anthony Davis once again fighting injury, the Lakers have plenty of compatibility questions to answer if they are going to legitimately pursue another championship.
At the helm is Frank Vogel, who has always been a reliable defensive coach and is generally well-regarded for his understanding of the game. That said, this is LeBron James’ team, and the Lakers are an organization that puts immense pressure on all team members to win, most of all its coach.
If Vogel can’t win or at least compete with the likes of the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors, he may be replaced by the next option that James has on his speed dial.
1. Chauncey Billups (Portland Trail Blazers)
The hiring of Chauncey Billups in Portland came with drama, and it hasn’t gotten any easier for the new head coach as his team has limped out to an 16-24 record.
Injuries could certainly be blamed for some of the losses, but ultimately there is no hiding behind the fact that the Blazers have looked lost at times this season.
Portland GM Neil Olshey has already been removed, and stars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are perpetually involved in trade rumors. Things are not heading in the right direction in Portland, and it might just be easiest for this organization to cut ties with their controversial offseason hire and start fresh in the fall of 2022.