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As we approach the halfway point of the NBA season, more than a few coaches of struggling teams are finding their seats getting toasty.
We’re just around 35 games into the season and it’s time to turn on the hot seat for NBA coaches. For our list, we’re looking at coaches that are in charge of potential playoff teams. You won’t be seeing names like Jamahl Mosley, Dwayne Casey or Stephen Silas, whose teams are clearly in a rebuilding stage.
Let’s take a look at three NBA coaches whose jobs may be on the line
3. Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls
The 2022 season marked the Bulls’ first postseason trip since 2017, and it was refreshing to see all of their big signings and trades pay dividends. However, year two of the DeRozan-LaVine-Vucevic big three has not been pretty. The trio has an incredibly low efficiency rating on the court together, and to make matters worse, the Lonzo Ball news hasn’t gotten any better. The star point guard remains out indefinitely,
The Bulls’ lack of consistency has to anger the fanbase. Despite the 16-19 record, the Bulls are a remarkable 7-1 against the Bucks, Nets, Celtics and Heat this season. This team has the talent to compete with the top dogs in the East, but struggles with teams they are worse than or on par with.
The fourth-quarter coaching from Donovan has been awful this year. Chicago is 4-8 in games decided by five points or less (0-5 to start the season). Nothing has changed from last year; it’s the same late-game isolation for DeMar DeRozan in crunch time. There’s not much offensive coaching or strategy. It’s honestly surprising LaVine hasn’t been used more in these key offensive moments, especially after Chicago invested over $215 million in him last offseason.
The biggest question is how does Donovan actually make this team better? Sure, they snapped their playoff drought last year, but they nearly were swept by Milwaukee. Shouldn’t a team with DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic make the postseason? Missing the playoffs with this trio would be puzzling in such a weak Eastern Conference.
Coach Donovan hasn’t had much success developing the Bulls’ young talent. Coby White has declined every year under Donovan, and while Patrick Williams looked promising his rookie year, he hasn’t made many strides since. Ayo Dosunmu is the one youngster that has exceeded expectations.
Bulls fans aren’t happy, but moving on from Donovan isn’t all that simple. Perhaps regrettably, the Bulls extended Donovan for four years at the end of last season. This certainly complicates matters if Chicago sours on his coaching and leadership.