After Nate Bjorkgren of the Indiana Pacers was fired after just one season, fans of the New Orleans Pelicans started wondering if Stan Van Gundy might be next.
Adrian Wojnarowski first reported Bjorkgren’s dismissal, which was somewhat surprising given that he had only been the coach for one season.
But the Indiana Pacers entered the season with a five-year playoff streak and thought it would continue, which it did not.
There were also reports that Bjorkgren had lost the locker room and that he was butting heads with some of the veterans on the Pacers.
If there is one thing we know for sure about the NBA, it’s that coaches rarely win these battles and if someone is going to be made a scapegoat for losing, it is usually the coach, not the players.
Stan Van Gundy also had some locker room issues with the young Pelicans, though those have probably been overblown, and he also missed the playoffs after coming into the season with high hopes to get there.
So will Stan Van Gundy be the next to be fired?
New Orleans Pelicans: Stan Van Gundy is not on the hot seat….yet
Pelicans’ fans who want a new coach are going to have to wait, but they might not have to wait too long if the Pelicans start losing.
Unlike Bjorkgren, Van Gundy has a solid resume as a head coach and a history of improving young teams.
Van Gundy was also up against a shortened offseason with no training camp and very few practice sessions to get to know his team, so he is going to be given the benefit of the doubt.
If the Pelicans start out strong next season, then Van Gundy will get some of the credit for turning them around, but if they don’t, he is going to get the blame.
I can’t see David Griffin making that type of decision unless it is 100 percent necessary, as it would be an admission that he made the wrong choice when he hired Van Gundy and might put his job at risk as well.
Coaching is tumultuous profession in a lot of ways, and Stan Van Gundy might find out the hard way that coaches are always going to get the blame when a team underperforms.