NBA head coaches are under a lot of pressure to perform each and every year. Firing a coach costs a team nothing but cash, making it far easier to move on from a coach than a player. Each year that comes into stark reality for a number of coaches; eight teams fired their coaches since this time last year, or nine if we count Joe Mazzula replacing Ime Udoka.
To track which coaches are on the hot seat heading into any given season, we invented the “Seat Index.” This metric measures the heat of every seat in the NBA, identifying which coaches need to be wary of being fired if they don’t perform up to expectations.
Some coaches are quite comfortable – Mark Daigneault, for example, or Mike Brown. Some were just hired and there hasn’t been time for the seat to warm up; none of the first-year coaches make this list. Gregg Popovich and Erik Spoelstra have cushy chairs with air conditioning built in. After winning the title, Michael Malone enters on a throne of ice.
Which NBA head coaches are on the hot seat this season?
There are nine NBA head coaches who seem to be in real danger of being fired if they don’t perform this season. Coaches can always play their way onto or off of this list, but these nine are who we have in mind at this point.
Let’s go through eight of those coaches and order them from a lukewarm chair to a white-hot seat, and then discuss the Cleveland Cavaliers’ own head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who is certainly not enjoying posterior ventilation heading into the season.