Marc J. Spears (Yahoo Sports) sent out this tweet in the early hours of Saturday.
While Lionel Hollins is getting head coach interest from LAL, CLE, UTH & MIN, sources say GS & HOU interested in him as associate head coach
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 31, 2014
The former Memphis Grizzlies head coach is garnering a lot of interested from multiple teams, so it would be interesting to see if he would choose a “lesser” coaching role with a better team, rather than being the head coach of a worse team.
What is an associate head coach? It seems like a fancier title for head assistant coach, similar to what Kelvin Sampson was to the Rockets before leaving for the University of Houston. Hollins would be the lead assistant in Houston and help replace Sampson.
Hollins is arguably the best defense-first coach out in the market, unless you believe Jeff Van Gundy can be pried away from the microphone. The Rockets defense took a huge hit late in the 2013-2014 regular season when Sampson departed for the Cougars coaching job. Sampson was known as the team’s defensive-minded coach and his loss was a big reason the Rockets were forced out of the playoffs early.
One interesting thing about the Rockets’ interest in Hollins is that he is known for disliking the analytical side of basketball. Hollins once yelled at John Hollinger, former ESPN statistician now a member of the Grizzlies front office, for interfering with one of his practices. Hollins was forced out of Memphis for those reasons which would make his fit in Houston quite interesting. Houston is known as one of the top analytically-driven teams in the league, led by GM Daryl Morey.
If Hollins is willing to put his analytics-hate behind him, he would be a great fit in Houston under coach Kevin McHale. Hollins has tons of experience, a great resume, and is a defensive-minded coach the Rockets seek. Hollins also played his final 10 season in the NBA with the Rockets.
What do you think Rockets fans? Would you like to see Hollins as the associate head coach of your Houston Rockets? Sound off in the comments below!