The Charlotte Bobcats announced in a statement to day that head coach Mike Dunlap would not return next season.
Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has relieved Mike Dunlap of his duties as head coach. The search for his successor will begin immediately.
"Rich Cho and I conducted our season-ending review and met with Coach Dunlap to reflect on this season. As an organization, it was decided that we needed to make a change with the head coach position," Higgins said. "We want to thank Mike for his contribution and wish him the best in his future endeavors."
The move may come as a surprise to some or less of one to others.
On the one hand, Dunlap dealt with a roster lacking in talent and trying to rebuild with youth. I'm not sure what the team expected, but in the standings, the Bobcats clearly improved. They tripled their total wins and more than doubled their winning percentage. The roster was a bit better, which helped, but Dunlap seemed to at least instill the players with a better work ethic, making for a team that competed a lot more than last year.
On the other hand, Dunlap relied heavily on a zone defense that flat-out didn't work. The offense was inefficient and they only barely weren't the worst team in the league once again. I think it says enough that the defense this year was somehow even worse than last year, if you look at basketball-reference's defensive rating statistic of how many points the team allows per 100 possessions.
Regardless, Dunlap is gone and the Bobcats once again need to undergo a hiring process. As we eventually saw, Dunlap was less someone Charlotte held upon a pedestal and more of the only guy left that they liked last summer after their other targets dropped out of the race for a variety of reasons.
After such a result, I'm not sure who still wants it, but there will always be people who want to cut their teeth with an NBA roster and young talent. Hopefully they find a solution that proves to be a more long-term fix, because it's not a good idea for young players to have a revolving door of coaches preaching their varying ideals only to be shuffled quickly from year to year.