Training camps are opening, so here are five coaches likely to start feeling the heat if their teams don't get off to good starts.
Mike Dunleavy, L.A. Clippers: The Clippers head into the season with expectations, which might not be the best news for Dunleavy. He's got to figure out a way to reconfigure his relationship with Baron Davis so that the veteran point guard once again can thrive. If Dunleavy and Davis aren't on the same page, there's no hope in L.A.
Mike Woodson, Atlanta: Woodson is in a tricky spot. After advancing to the second round of the playoffs last season, the logical conclusion would seem to be that this is the year to take the next step. Only with Boston, Cleveland and Orlando, just how are the Hawks going to do that? It's going to be tough, and Woodson's the one who'll get blamed if Atlanta can't break through.
Lawrence Frank, New Jersey: Hard to believe, but Frank is starting his sixth full season with the Nets, and that's really the only reason we're putting him here. It's more a numbers thing, a percentages play, if you know what I mean. In the ruthless world of hiring and firing NBA coaches, Frank seems due.
Byron Scott, New Orleans: The Hornets took a step back last season, winning fewer games than the season before and getting thumped in the first round of the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets. It's clear New Orleans believes the acquisition of Emeka Okafor will put them back with the elite teams in the Western Conference. You know what that means for Byron Scott if it doesn't.
Jim O'Brien, Indiana: Let's face it, O'Brien's two years in Indiana have been pretty nondescript, and it's not like this season is setting up to be anything special. The Pacers are coming off back-to-back 36-win seasons, and they're banged up to start 2009-10. It's a little bit of a double-whammy for the Pacers, who aren't likely to be good or entertaining. Yes, O'Brien signed an extension last week but that's only going to make the decision that much more awkward if things go South.
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