The Houston Rockets are uncharacteristically in midst of the off season as a result of the once highly-regarded but underachieving season that they’ve just had.
There are going to be tremendous changes on the horizon and I have no idea what this team is going to look like next season.
Let’s face it folks, he calls the shots and the Rockets will continue to have an open ear as far as his input on how to build the team around him.
It’s totally understandable but I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t put too much power in a player’s hands because that was part of the problem for this season.
I’ve continued to reiterate that Harden likely had — but I have no proof — that he had a tremendous impact on the firing of Kevin McHale.
The two were bumping heads and I had a strong feeling that his days were numbered.
But would McHale have turned things around eventually after the 4-7 start 11 games into season?
We’ll never know but I suspect that the likely result would’ve been similar to what we had this season.
But I honestly think that although general manager Daryl Morey was likely quick with the trigger finger, he still did McHale a favor.
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McHale was able to relax, do some television and radio spots and enjoy the $12 million in cash that he’s still owed.
Managing this team of misguided misfits is not an easy task and I imagine McHale was stressed out to no end with the situation magnified because of the Rockets unimpressive play early-in.
But we’re past that now and it’s time to go out and find a coach that will lead this team back to the upper echelon once again.
There are plenty of rumors flying all over the place about who will the Rockets 14th coach in franchise history — but one thing is for certain, the team will be take their time evaluating the available talent and not rush to a decision.
That’s what I’d honestly like to see because this is definitely they need to get right this off season.
I don’t want to be the team that has a constant carousel of head coaches in and out the doors of Toyota Center.
But here’s an interesting nugget.
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According to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, the Rockets have expressed interest in Lionel Hollins, who has had experience coaching in the upper ranks with most of his success with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Feigen mentions the Rockets are looking for experienced head coaches and up-and-coming assistants for this job with would certainly qualify him for the job.
But is Hollins a good fit for this team?
Let’s take a look.
In Hollins last two seasons (2011-13) with the Grizz as head coach — his best work nearly 100 season wins over that span — his teams continued to carry the hallmark of hard-nosed defense.
We’re not even going to compare the time he spent with the Brooklyn Nets because we all know that was a rebuilding project and he didn’t have the time to nurture the limited assets that he was given.
Anyway, if you’re looking for a defensive-minded coach — then Hollins certainly is the guy to be considering.
Space City Scoop
In 2012-13, the Grizzlies finished 2nd in defensive efficiency — allowing just 97.4 points per 100 possessions — and in 2011-12 the Grizz were 7th, allowing 98.9 points per 100.
But as far as offense, you can describe it as less than prolific — the Grizz we’re ranked 20th in offensive efficiency back in 2011-12 (101.0 points per 100) and 18th in 2012-13 (101.7 per 100).
If one goes off these numbers, he’s certainly has strong candidacy for the job as he has a proven track record as a leader.
I still recall watching old tape of the years when he was the fiery floor-general for the Portland Trail Blazers, being on the team that won the ship in 1977 along with big-man Bill Walton.
And it’s notable to mention that he was on the NBA All-Defensive Team for two straight seasons following their magical championship run as well.
Hollins was also a Rocket in his final season of his playing career back in 1984-85.
But here’s a slight wrinkle…
Hollins is definitely from the old school and I’m not sure if that’s necessarily going to be a mindset that Harden will ingratiate himself with.
But he should be on the Rockets short list nonetheless as I’ve always admired the way he can motivate and be a leader of men which is most important in that particular field.
This is a man that has paid his dues on the bench and he definitely deserves another shot.
It may even be the Rockets.
Hollins, 62, possesses a 262-272 record over nine seasons as a head coach with the Grizzlies and Nets.