As the first half of the NBA season comes to a close, let’s reflect; not on Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony or who’s playing in the NBA All-Star game, but let’s talk about the firing of Orlando Magic coach Doc Rivers, New Jersey Nets head coach Byron Scott and the resignation of Boston Celtics coach Jim O’Brien.
Rivers was fired last November after a 90-88 loss to Utah. He was fired because of a 1-10 start, but it wasn’t his fault. Rivers was given a team who tried to pass Andrew Declerq and Steven Hunter as legitimate centers, which even in the center-less Eastern Conference, they are not.
The firing of Rivers changed nothing. The Magic rolled to lose nine more consecutive games in the wake of Rivers’ departure. A combination of bad signings (Grant Hill, Tyronne Lue) and terrible drafting (Michael Doleac) by general manager John Gabriel led to the firing of Rivers.
Despite leading the once laughing stock Nets to two consecutive NBA Finals appearances, coach Byron Scott was given his walking papers Jan. 26. Upon Scott’s dismissal the Nets were two games above .500 (22-20) and were in first place of the Atlantic Division.
The resignation of O’Brien comes with no surprise. The relationship he and Boston general manager Danny Ainge shared was rocky. Ainge took O’Brien’s championship contender and depleted the roster completely, sending players such as Antoine Walker to Dallas for unknown prospects. O’Brien had no say in who came and who went; so he opted out before his name could be smeared as a loser.
In this time of win now or get fired, coaches are told to make players adapt, but a coach cannot make players fit his system. A coach should not be fired if he’s winning with a team he didn’t form, or a team he has taken from the basement of atrocity to the penthouse suite of the NBA. If the general manager decides on players and the team loses, then he should be fired and held accountable for his decisions – not the coach.
Serge Beaubrun is sophomore broadcast journalism student from Miami. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org