Houston Rockets Priority Number One: Bring In Lionel Hollins


Now that all the confetti has been swept off the floor and the A/C has been turned off


in the AT&T Center, as basketball fans, it’s time to embrace the NBA offseason and look forward to a few things, namely, the NBA Draft and the ensuing free agency period. As you might have heard, the Houston Rockets are looking to make some noise this summer for the second year in a row via free agency.

But let’s not jump ahead of ourselves on which player(s) we can sign to win a championship just yet. I’m sure you’ve seen – or heard  – some of the rumors going around the league, but let me be clear:

LeBron James isn’t signing with the Houston Rockets. And the Chicago Bulls are going to land Carmelo Anthony. If that is, they don’t team up together in South Beach.

Apr 17, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins reacts during the game against the Utah Jazz at FedEx Forum. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden USA TODAY Sports

I’m sorry if I just went all Gregor Clegane on your hopes, but it needed to be said. This team has major flaws in how the team is constructed (and no, I’m not talking about moving TAFKAL and Omer Asik‘s contracts). Neither of these moves are going to happen with the way the Rockets are begin ran defensively.

If the Rockets want to reach their full potential and attract “A-list” free agents they need to start by bringing former-Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach and defensive specialist Lionel Hollins to the bench as an assitant first. That’s where it all begins and ends for this team. Ask yourself a couple of questions:

Why did the Rockets lose in the first round to Portland? Defense. What wins championships? Defense. What are the Rockets not good at? Defense.

Don’t believe me? Fine. But the only reason why Carmelo would choose Chicago over Houston is because of Tom Thibodeau and his superb defensive scheme.

It’s already been documented that when LeBron James sits down with teams in a few weeks, he’s going to want to see long-term plans and a willingness to spend. Hiring Lionel Hollins meets the criteria for both. Hollins isn’t going to be cheap, but remember, he also doesn’t count against the team’s salary cap. This is a move that would help our team regardless of who we do (or don’t) sign this offseason.

Put simply, it’s a no-brainer.

Lionel Hollins is an excellent defensive coach. It’s only been about 15 months since Hollins led Memphis’ stout defense into the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. And while I respect the players on that team, they definitely aren’t as good as this Houston squad is in it’s current state. Once Kelvin Sampson left for the University of Houston, Houston’s defense clearly took a hit. Hollins can reverse that damage and is a much better coach than Sampson and Kevin McHale (probably put together).

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If this guy can make Marc Gasol and his 7.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game, Defensive Player of the Year last season, what could he do with Dwight Howard?

Wouldn’t it be nice if Hollins could teach proper defense to Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones while masking James Harden in his scheme?

And if LeBron signed, he might be the first person to win the MVP and DPOY award since Hakeem Olajuwon with a offensive coach like McHale and a defensive coach like Lionel Hollins.

Hollins would put ‘Melo in a position to succeed.

Houston, and especially GM Daryl Morey, has a lot of decisions to make in the next few weeks. Paying Lionel Hollins shouldn’t be one of them.

Pay me, Daryl.