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Coaches on the hot seat entering 2023 NBA playoffs

Here’s a look at the head coaches feeling the pressure as the NBA playoffs begin.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Charlotte Hornets Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NBA playoffs are here with the play-in games taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday to determine the seventh and eighth seeds in each conference. Some coaches will be let go after the playoffs because they haven’t met the organization’s goals to this point. Let’s look at some of the guys who could be replaced after the playoffs.

Nick Nurse, Toronto Raptors

Nurse took over for Dwayne Casey after the 2017-18 season when Casey won the Coach of the Year but was eliminated from the playoffs again by Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavilers. The Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard in the offseason, and Nurse helped lead the team to an NBA championship in his first year. Since the championship, he has kept the team in playoff contention, but they haven’t gotten close to the same level of play. Nurse’s name has been mentioned for other jobs around the league. If he is let go, it won’t take long for him to find a new home. Should the Raptors lose in the play-in tournament or get swept in the first round, look for Nurse’s name to be on the chopping block.

Doc Rivers, Philadelphia 76ers

Rivers has been with Philadelphia for three years now, and each year the team has been toward the top of the Eastern Conference. However, despite having center Joel Embiidd playing at an MVP level over the past few years, the Sixers have yet to reach the conference finals. Unless they get a historic performance from Embidd and fellow star James Harden their chances of making it this year are slim as well. With rumors swirling about Harden’s future with the team, another early exit could lead to a shakeup of things.

Honorable mentions

  • Darvin Ham of the Los Angeles Lakers is in his first year at the helm, and has done a solid job in the second half of the year, especially after the trade deadline. However, the expectations are always high in Hollywood and should the Lakers have an early exit, they could look to get a more experienced coach like Rivers should he become available.
  • Chris Finch of the Minnesota Timberwolves blew the series against the Memphis Grizzles last season. The franchise traded for center Rudy Gobert in the offseason, only to end up in the play-in tournament once again. Finch will likely get another year but if the Wolves miss the playoffs completely, there will be some heat under his seat for sure. This team is capable of more, so the team could look for someone to get more out of the roster.