The NBA has had its fair share of coach departures this offseason, and as many teams like Boston and Indiana begin to find their new leader, I wanted to take a moment to look at the best remaining coaching vacancies in the NBA. For the purpose of this article, I am not including the Milwaukee Bucks despite some speculation that Coach Budenholzer may be on the way out because he has not been released yet.
4. Orlando Magic
Of the four remaining open coaching roles, the Orlando Magic seems to be the least desirable. Being the head coach of an organization that underperforms year after year is not an easy task, and previous Magic coaches often had to bear the brunt of the blame.
One benefit about coaching in Orlando is that the club is entering a full-out rebuild period. Starting fresh with an organization that is also starting fresh could make it easier to have a say in how a coach wants their team assembled.
3. Washington Wizards
The Wizards have quite an interesting dynamic. On one hand, you have two star players in Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal, but on the other hand, there is not a ton of depth the further into the roster you go. The Wizards were able to make it into the Playoffs this year, but they barely survived the Play-In Tournament in the relatively weaker Eastern Conference.
The next head coach brought into DC will have a great foundation, but some work needs to be done in order to assemble a roster that can compete with the likes of Brooklyn, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee in the East
2. New Orleans Pelicans
The next head coach of the Pelicans will be entering a sticky situation, and they will likely have a decent bit of work to do. On one hand, you get handed a roster with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram on it, but on the other hand, you would be Zion’s third coach in three years. The pressure is on for the next head coach of the Pelicans just as much as it is on for Executive VP of Basketball Operations, David Griffin.
After rumors that members of Zion’s family want him out of New Orleans, the next head coach for the Pelicans will need to quickly instill a winning culture and turn the organization into a playoff-caliber team. It will be a tough task, but with Zion on your roster, who would turn that down?
1. Portland Trail Blazers
Similar to the Pelicans, the next head coach of the Trail Blazers will be entering a situation that is not the best. Star player Damian Lillard has been vocal in his frustration with the franchise, and the next head coach will very quickly have to prove to be a winner or Lillard may walk.
The reason I have ranked Portland higher than New Orleans is for one reason: the playoff-caliber roster. Portland is consistently in the running for a playoff spot, often getting in towards the bottom half of the West. After multiple early exits, Portland needed to make a change. Whoever steps into the role as the Blazers’ next head coach will have a roster that is primed and ready to compete. All they need to do is to bring them further than the first round and show Lillard that Portland can be winners. Will it be easy? No, but it will be fun.
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