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NBA head coach carousel: Kenny Atkinson, Ime Udoka among names to know as 2023 offseason nears

nba head coach carousel: kenny atkinson, ime udoka among names
nba head coach carousel: kenny atkinson, ime udoka among names

With the end of the 2022-23 NBA season, the offseason begins for a number of teams. For some of these teams, much of the offseason plans will involve finding a new head coach.

Franchises looking for new leadership on the sidelines include the Pistons And rockets, who have split from Dwane Casey and Stephen Silas. While Casey will move into a front-office role to help Detroit find its new head coach, Houston is starting from scratch with general manager Rafael Stone leading the search.

If fans have learned anything over the past season, it’s the fact that the NBA’s coaching carousel runs year-round, as the Hawks completed a rare midseason hiring and signed Quin Snyder after parting ways with Nate McMillan had. Had Atlanta not made a move for Snyder, there might have been a lot more competition this offseason when a number of other teams are expected to make coaching changes.

Along with news of these vacancies comes a list of potential candidates likely to be in the running for these positions. The Sporting News takes a look at some of the names that will be dominant in discussions.

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NBA head coach’s carousel: names to know ahead of the offseason

Kenny Atkinson

Regular season record: 118-190 (.383)

Postseason record: 1-4 (.200)

Atkinson is in his second season as an assistant coach on Steve Kerr’s staff at Golden State. In 2022, Atkinson agreed to take the job as head coach of the Hornets before a change of heart led to him staying with the Warriors.

Most teams will consider Atkinson for any coaching job, but his decision to stay at The Bay could be a sign he’s next in line to succeed Kerr, but he was also spotted with the opening in Houston linked. It’s worth monitoring everything.

Mike D’Antoni

Regular season record: 672-527 (0.560)

Postseason record: 54-56 (.491)

As long as there are coaching positions, D’Antoni will be associated with them.

Since leaving the Rockets in 2020, D’Antoni has spent a season as an assistant coach in Brooklyn and the last two years as a coaching advisor in New Orleans. Unless opposed to a full-time return to the sidelines, D’Antoni will once again be a candidate for any desirable openings.

Dave Jorger

Regular season record: 147-99 (0.598)

Postseason record: 9-13 (.409)

Jörg is in his third season as an assistant with the 76ers but has had his fair share of successes as a lead. In 2013, Joerger took over the Grit-N-Grind Grizzlies after six seasons as an assistant in Memphis, where he helped the Grizzlies maintain their identity and push the dynastic Warriors to their limits in 2015.

Despite a difficult few years at the helm of Sacramento, Joerger’s history makes him a prime candidate for a team looking to shake things up after falling short in the postseason.

Terry Stotts

Regular season record: 517-486 (0.515)

Postseason record: 23-44 (.343)

Stotts last coached the Trail Blazers during the 2021 NBA playoffs, but has been linked to a few coaching positions since then.

Whether or not Stotts returns to coaching remains to be seen, but he was spotted in a few NBA arenas during the 2022-23 season. He’s an ideal coaching candidate for a team full of veterans hoping to compete in the postseason.

make Udoka

make Udoka

Regular season record: 51-32 (.622)

Postseason record: 14-10 (.583)

In his first season as NBA head coach, Udoka led the Celtics to an NBA title in two wins. Months later, the Celtics suspended Udoka for the 2022–23 season for “violating team policy,” which ultimately resulted in his being fired.

Despite the end of his tenure in Boston, Udoka was linked with openings as a coach and was seen as the next leading man in Brooklyn before the franchise moved in a different direction. Udoka’s success in his first season as a coach makes him a prime candidate for a fresh start elsewhere. He has already been linked to the job openings in Detroit and Houston.

Frank Vogel

Regular season record: 431-389 (0.526)

Postseason record: 49-39 (.557)

Two years after leading the franchise to an NBA title, Vogel and the Lakers parted ways.

Vogel is a proven winner who led the Pacers to deep postseason runs before taking the reins in LA, where he won a title in his freshman year. Defensive and practical, Vogel is another coach who could be called upon to lead a group of veterans poised to win now. Vogel’s name was mentioned in Houston as a potential candidate.

Count Watson

Regular season record: 33-85 (.280)

Postseason record: 0-0 (0.000)

Watson is a true player-coach and deserves to be mentioned in conversations about coaching vacancies.

In 2016, Watson took over as Phoenix’s interim head coach and led the way for a full season before being sacked for three games in the 2017-18 season. He is currently Assistant to the Staff of Nick Nurse in Toronto.

Sam Cassell Getty FTR

Sam Kassel

Cassell is now in his 14th season as an NBA assistant coach and his ninth alongside Doc Rivers.

In recent years, Cassell has been involved in the application process for a number of coaching positions but has not yet been accepted. As long as Cassell’s name stays in the mix, it will only be a matter of time before he gets his chance.

Adrian Griffin

Griffin is in his fifth season as an assistant with the Raptors and in his 15th season as an assistant coach in the NBA.

The nine-year NBA veteran has continued to build his coaching pedigree in recent years and is next in line when Nick Nurse is unavailable to lead Toronto. Last year, Griffin applied for the Lakers’ vacancy – a sign of his name rising to the top of the list of future head coaches.

Karl Lee

In each of the last few years, Lee has been mentioned as a rising name in the coaching ranks.

Lee, 38, is completing his ninth season as an NBA assistant, all of which he has spent with Mike Budenholzer. A burgeoning team looking for new leadership could turn to Lee, who, much like some teams in the league, is on the rise. According to Charania, he should be one of the candidates for the job in Detroit.

Written By

Dave Gallo is a pioneering sports analytics expert, renowned for his revolutionary work in AI-driven sports simulations, projections, and advanced statistical analysis. With a profound passion for sports and technology, he crafts cutting-edge computer models that accurately predict outcomes. Dave's game-changing insights have reshaped strategy, player evaluation, and decision-making across various sports. His dynamic presentations make complex analytics accessible and inspiring, ensuring his legacy as a visionary in sports analytics. Check out Dave's Pick Record.

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