The Denver Nuggets have emerged as the NBA champions, guided by the finals MVP Nikola Jokic and head coach Michael Malone, who has been leading the team since 2015. The stability of the front office and a roster made up of a promising young core and league veterans undoubtedly played a vital role in the Nuggets capitalizing on their +500 odds in 2023.
However, not all teams had that kind of success and a few have been looking for new coaches to lead their teams.
A significant coaching reshuffle for the 2023-24 season is already in full swing, with the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, and Phoenix Suns all giving their head coaches the boot and promptly securing replacements.
So, how will these coaching changes impact the teams and their chances of lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy? Stay tuned as we provide a thorough analysis of the staffing changes in the NBA.
Milwaukee Bucks Replace Budenholzer with Adrian Griffin
After the East’s top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs, the team fired Mike Budenholzer, only the fourth coach in the past 50 years to lead them to a championship.
Under Budenholzer, the Bucks shattered the NBA’s best regular-season record in three of his five seasons, but that wasn’t enough to keep him around.
The team appointed Adrian Griffin, who had spent 15 years as an NBA assistant before seizing his big chance. The team’s NBA Championship odds for 2023/24 currently stand at +550, which mirrors the opening lines from last year, indicating that their talent is sufficient for them to mount a title challenge, despite the coaching shift.
Nick Nurse Replaces Doc Rivers in Philly
After losing the series to the Boston Celtics, the 76ers gave Doc Rivers his walking papers. Rivers had been with the team since the 2020/21 season. A third consecutive loss in the Eastern Conference semifinals, despite having standout Joel Embiid, the league’s regular season MVP, and James Harden, a prospective Hall of Famer, was enough to provoke the team’s front office to look for alternative solutions.
Doc’s replacement on the bench will be Nick Nurse, the former head coach of the Toronto Raptors, who brings a championship pedigree and experience. The odds for the Philadelphia 76ers to win the trophy next season open at +1400, a sharp increase from the +1000 opening lines last season, suggesting that the bookmakers are not entirely convinced by the Embiid-Harden 1-2 punch.
Frank Vogel Takes Over for Monty Williams in Phoenix
In a surprising move, the Phoenix Suns fired head coach Monty Williams, who led them to the 2021 NBA Finals and was named the 2022 Coach of the Year. However, a painful loss to the Denver Nuggets in the second round was a signal for Mat Ishbia to enact a coaching switch.
The Suns brought in Frank Vogel, a seasoned coach who has helmed three different teams across 11 seasons and has a league record of 431-389. His crowning achievement is winning a championship with the Lakers in 2020,
The Suns’ opening odds last year were +900, but with the coaching transition and the trade of Chris Paul for Bradley Beal, the odds have dropped to +600, making them the fourth favorites to clinch the championship.
Detroit Pistons Hire Monty Williams After Casey Steps Down
Monty Williams didn’t take long to find another job in the NBA. The Detroit Pistons, the league’s worst team last year, are pinning their hopes on Williams to change their fortunes after Dwane Casey stepped down as coach to assume a role in the front office.
With a 63% win rate over the past four regular seasons, Williams has a promising foundation to build upon. The youthful core, featuring Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren, the No. 5 and No. 13 picks, respectively, and Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 pick in 2021, are projected to propel the franchise to their third playoff appearance in 14 years. Their odds to clinch the trophy opened last year at +25000 and have now doubled to +50000, suggesting that Monty Williams will have his hands full trying to turn things around for the Motor City team.