NBL legend and analyst Derek Rucker says Hawks players should cop "65-70 per cent" of the blame for Jacob Jackomas' sacking, saying he would have considered personnel changes before moving on the coach.
While Jackomas appeared on borrowed time riding a 5-32 coaching record, plenty have questioned the timing of the club's decision, with whispers suggesting it already has a replacement locked in.
Rucker had called for Jackomas to change up his starting line-up ahead of last week's clash with Cairns, saying the back-court dynamic with Tyler Harvey and Justin Robinson was not clicking.
Club great Damon Lowery said the players need to take "50 per cent" of the blame and, having suggested the club could look at a "permanent change" in the back court ahead of last week's loss to Cairns, Rucker told the NBL Now podcast on Wednesday personnel change would have been his preference to swinging the axe on the coach.
"I probably would have retained the coach and made some personnel changes, but they've gone this way," Rucker said.
"I probably would have given Jacob through the FIBA break and probably given him until Christmas to turn this thing around. You can't say it was the wrong move, but I'm very curious to see how this goes now.
"I think Damon said 50 per cent [blame], I think the players have to take a greater stakehold in what's happened, I think it's up around 65 to 70 per cent.
"Some of those guys have been terrible this year. Some of those guys who I'm talking about, I thought were going to be significant impact players in the competition, guys that were going to lift Illawarra up into a play-in contention position. Somewhere from the paper to the court, it hasn't come to fruition."
Hawks CEO Stu Taggart has said the club will look to replace Jackomas with an experienced coach with a record of "proven success" while general manager Mat Campbell has said the club is speaking with five-time championship-winner Trevor Gleeson.
Rucker said he understood the appeal of an experienced coach, but questioned whether any such candidate would be interested in taking the job on.
"Let's be real, it's the worst job in the NBL to take on as a coach," Rucker said.
"I would think that it's more along the lines of a first time coach, but then if you're the Hawks, you have to be really careful with your analysis and evaluation of that potential candidate. Is it somebody that can stick in here for the long run?
"They need someone to fit like Adam Forde fits Cairns. That's what they need. I understand the alternative, going after a Gleeson, going after a Goorjian, going after a Joey Wright. I'd even revisit Rob Beveridge and see if he'd like to come back.
"Those guys bring instant credibility, but there's a trade off with that instant credibility, you're paying a significant price to lure those guys back down to the Gong."
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