The 2022-23 NBA season enters its last legs with the conclusion of All-Star weekend. The final third of the season begins Thursday and while several contenders will be hoping to play their best basketball before the postseason, there are other teams looking to simply improve their standing and evaluate their head coaches. Here are some of the coaches facing tremendous pressure in the last lap of the regular season.
Nate McMillan, Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks are 3.5 games back of the No. 6 seed in the East, which is the final automatic playoff spot. If Atlanta doesn’t get to that point, the play-in tournament might not matter when it comes to McMillan’s job. He’s already had some spats with Trae Young, who was upset with the direction of the team early in the season. Dejounte Murray’s addition hasn’t helped, and John Collins remains on the roster despite constant trade chatter. If McMillan can’t rally this group, he’s going to be out in Atlanta.
Nick Nurse, Toronto Raptors
Nurse might get a pass for this season given his overall influence on the franchise and his masterful coaching during the 2019 title run. The Raptors have a strong starting lineup and should be much better than they are but it’s hard to turn over an entire roster. Perhaps a new voice will be what this group needs. The Raptors are likely going to be hovering around the play-in mix for the rest of the season.
Doc Rivers, Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers have one of the best teams yet under Rivers, so there are no excuses this postseason for the head coach. James Harden and Joel Embiid might be the best offensive duo in the league, and Tyrese Maxey should continue to improve. Philadelphia’s bench has also been rising, so this team has the ability to compete with the Celtics and Bucks. If Rivers can’t make the Finals, it might be time for a change.
- The Trail Blazers have not been able to take off after trying to re-tool the roster around Damian Lillard, and it might be time for a new voice here. Head coach Chauncey Billups will likely have to make the postseason to avoid being let go.
- Billy Donovan has not been able to propel the Bulls forward this season, with the absence of Lonzo Ball looming large. The star players have regressed, and the front office has some big decisions to make. Will Donovan want to sit through a rebuild if that’s the way the team decides to go?