The 2014-15 Season’s Worst Coaching Catastrophes

This year isn’t quite the season of fear that saw a record-breaking 12 NBA coaching changes occur back in 2013, but it’s well worth learning why coaches get let go in today’s league—you know, that old chestnut about those not learning from history being doomed to repeat it. Here are all the coaches who received pink slips during this season and what they did wrong, plus the head coach most likely to get canned next.

Brian Shaw
Fired by: Denver Nuggets
Tenure: June 24, 2013-Mar. 3, 2015 (1.7 years)
The writing was on the wall when: It had become fairly apparent that Shaw, one of nine first-time NBA head coaches hired two years ago, lost the confidence of his locker room even before seemingly suggesting to reporters that his players were losing on purpose. It became even more obvious his players had turned on him when they broke a huddle with “One, two, three, six weeks!”—as in, only six more weeks to go until the end of a disastrous season. Shaw will be replaced by interim coach Melvin Hunt.

Michael Malone
Fired by: Sacramento Kings
Tenure: June 3, 2013- Dec. 15, 2014 (1.5 years)
The writing was on the wall when: Malone was part of the same crazy hiring spree that saw Shaw rise to a head coach position. Like him, Malone also failed to last even two full years. It came as a bit of a shock because Malone lead the Kings to more wins this season than they saw in each of their last two. However, sources said that Malone didn’t see eye-to-eye with management on the team’s play style, and that factored heavily into their decision to hand him a pink slip. Tough. More recently, Tyrone Corbin, Malone’s replacement during the interim, has handed the reigns over to George Karl, Denver’s former longtime head coach.

Jacque Vaughn
Fired by: Orlando Magic
Tenure: July 28, 2012-Feb. 5, 2015 (2.5 years)
The writing was on the wall when: Like many coaches tasked with developing a rebuilt team, Vaughn was given a certain amount of leeway when it came to losing during to the time it takes to create a well-gelled roster. However, fans and team brass can only handle so much disappointment. Management zeroed their sites on Vaughan after his Magic started the season with an atrocious 15-37 record. Ten of those were consecutive losses. Rather than stay stuck in a rut, the Magic canned him and named James Borrego interim coach.

On the chopping block

Randy Wittman
Team: Washington Wizards
Tenure: June 4, 2012-Present

The writing on the wall: Few Wizards fans can put their support behind Wittman, a coach who recently suggested that his players don’t work hard enough (appropriately, he said the blame’s on him). The general malaise surrounding his team’s performance this season, combined with a failure to secure a finals berth the year prior, had NBA guru Bill Simmons actively call for his firing on ESPN 980 last week. Depending on how the final month of this season goes (but not likely before then), Wittman may be replaced before next season tips off.
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