Is Dwane Casey’s time in Detroit coming to an end? (Photo by Ringo Chiu/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)
- Ryan Saunders and Dwane Casey are favored in the next head coach to be fired market
- Stan Van Gundy is at a long price despite the Pelicans’ struggles
- See the odds on all 30 NBA head coaches to be first fired below
Ryan Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey are the betting favorites in odds to be first NBA coach fired this season. Saunders’ Timberwolves have had a terrible start to the season, while Casey’s Pistons sit 14th in the Eastern Conference with the most losses in the NBA.
Teams have faced unique circumstances this season. Some disappointing records can be qualified by COVID-19 related absences. Others, though, are already under pressure.
NBA front offices are not afraid to make head coaching changes when things are going wrong – which head coach will be the first fired in the 2020-21 season?
Odds on First NBA Head Coach to Be Fired in 2021
|Stan Van Gundy||+3300|
Odds as of Feb 3rd
Saunders Under Pressure
The Timberwolves had overly optimistic preseason expectations. Few projected them as anything other than a lottery team, but after giving their pick up in the D’Angelo Russell trade, Minnesota was clearly aiming for more than the 5-15 record they currently own. No other team in the West has fewer than seven wins.
They are dead last in offensive rating and net rating. Having won their first two of the season, they are on a 3-15 run. A lot of their struggles can be attributed to Karl-Anthony Towns’ availability – the T-Wolves’ star center has played just four of their 20 games. Saunders might feel hard done by if he’s fired in such circumstances, but the Timberwolves are pretty much out of the playoff picture already, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Saunders lose his job as a result.
Minnesota isn’t devoid of talent even in Towns’ absence. Saunders is largely responsible for what is a dysfunctional offense. In Russell, Ricky Rubio and Malik Beasley there is enough offensive talent to be better on the offensive end. Anthony Edwards has not been put in positions to succeed.
Anthony Edwards on the D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Edwards three-man backcourt:
“They can’t help off of DLo and Bease because they can shoot. And they can’t help off of me because I can shoot — *starts laughing* — every now and again.”
— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) February 1, 2021
Given the status of their pick, and the increasing possibility of a Towns trade request if they continue to be terrible, Saunders is deserving of his status as favorite here.
2021 NBA MVP Award Odds Tracker
Dwane Casey’s odds are a bit more surprising. The Pistons’ record is poor, but Detroit didn’t go into this season with any sort of expectations. They’ve also logged surprise wins over the Sixers, Celtics and Lakers, and have stayed in games against much more talented opponents.
Killian Hayes is out long-term, Blake Griffin is looking old and this roster is no better than its record. Casey, if anything, deserves praise for bringing performances out of Jerami Grant that no one thought he had in him.
Detroit had major front office change in the offseason. This is, perhaps, where Casey’s shaky job security lies. Front office changes can quickly become coaching changes. The Pistons can justify firing Casey during the season, and they might be keen to bring in a fresh face as they embark on a major revamping of the roster.
Casey isn’t underachieving. He might just not be the man the Pistons want. His job is at risk, of course, but Detroit is in no hurry – there’s not much value in backing Casey to be the first coach to lose his job.
Walton, SVG Could Be In Trouble
Luke Walton is the Sacramento Kings’ sixth head coach since 2013. The Kings’ desire to end their postseason drought has led to some serious turnover on the bench. A 9-11 start and the worst defense in the NBA does not suggest Walton’s job is safe.
Add in the bizarre social media turmoil with tweets from Marvin Bagley’s father, and it’s easy to envisage the Kings front office making a change. They have a lot of money committed to this core – how much longer can they put up with sub .500 basketball? Walton is a great bet at +400.
While the Kings are impatient, David Griffin and the Pelicans have a project. Stan Van Gundy was Griffin’s appointment to take this exceptional young group to the next stage.
It hasn’t gone well so far. The Pels are 14th in the West. Van Gundy’s trademark defense is nowhere to be seen, and Griffin is set to make multiple trades before the deadline, including moving on from Lonzo Ball.
Having just been hired by Griffin, and with New Orleans in no rush to be good, Van Gundy is no more than a longshot here, but the +3300 price is still worth a small wager given how bad the Pels have been so far this season.
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.