Houston Rockets targeting Elston Turner as their defensive coordinator

Assistant coach Elston Turner, who is being targeted by the Houston Rockets (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Assistant coach Elston Turner, who is being targeted by the Houston Rockets (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets are targeting Elston Turner to join Mike D’Antoni’s staff, likely to coordinate the team’s defensive strategy. Potential impact?

The Houston Rockets targeting Turner as their defensive coordinator are busy at work trying to assemble their staff as well as finalize their roster for the upcoming 2019-20 season.  With all of the rumors that have surfaced about the team disbanding, Chris Paul demanding a trade, it turns out that most things are likely going to stay put next season.

Plus, the Golden State Warriors are severely wounded with two of their biggest stars — Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant — likely being on the shelf until early 2020 — before they see action again.

In addition, they’re both free agents so it remains to be seen if the Warriors try to bring those guys back with their hopes pinned on holding the fort down until they return.  Either way, it’s going to

be tough for the Warriors to have the level of dominance that they’ve had over the past five seasons with the injury challenges that they’re facing.

As such, the race for another title is wide open; and, outside of the Toronto Raptors, the Houston Rockets gave the Warriors their toughest challenge of the season, including the playoffs.  This goes to show that if the Warriors weren’t in the way, we’d be singing praises of this franchise winning its third championship.

But those vivid imaginations had to be put on hold for a moment after a CP3 hammy failed on him in the postseason just two seasons ago.

That’s why it’s imperative that this team returns as they have a great shot to win it all and every member of the starting five is under contract so there’s no uncertainty and the bench will be tweaked.

Nonetheless, most of Mike D’Antoni‘s staff was given the ax this offseason — including long-

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time confidant Jeff Bzdelik — and he’ll have to assemble a new team along with the fact that he hasn’t signed an extension yet, making assistants wary about joining him if the Houston Rockets haven’t yet committed to him.

Tilman Fertitta and Daryl Morey have said that they want him back but until the ink dries on the contract, those are just sound bytes and they aren’t sworn testimony.

KRIV FOX 26’s Mark Berman reported that the Houston Rockets brought in former assistant coach Elston Turner for an interview as he’s the first to be called in to try to see if he’s interested in joining the staff.

Turner, 60, was previously on the Houston Rockets‘ bench under Rick Adelman from 2007-11 and the team was able to make tremendous progress with their defense under his tutelage.

Houston Rockets’ defensive efficiency (number of points allowed per 100 possessions) during Turner’s tenure:

2007-08:  86.5 (2nd)

2008-09: 101.4 (4th)

2009-10:  105.5 (17th)

2010-11:  106.2 (18th)

As you can see, the Houston Rockets fell no lower than the close to the middle of the pack in their

defense and we’ve seen this team drop to near-last during some seasons since.  It took a severe nose-dive under Kevin McHale but the situation has been fluid since.  Bzdelik was able to come in and stabilize the situation and that’s likely what they’re looking for Elston to do.  Speaking of that, the two did work together on the bench in the 2013-14 season with Joerger when he was with the Grizzlies.

I would totally be 100 percent all-in on this hire as Turner has proven his worth in this league.  He most recently coached with Dave Joerger with the Sacramento Kings from 2016-19 as well as a previous stint in 2000-06 and has had stops with the Portland Trail Blazers (1996-00), Phoenix Suns (2011-13) and the Memphis Grizzlies (2013-14).  His path has followed either Adelman or Joerger throughout most of his career.

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Turner, a shooting guard/small forward, played eight seasons in the NBA as well as around the world so he knows the preparation and commitment it takes to be successful at such a coveted craft.

Let’s hope the Houston Rockets made an offer that he couldn’t refuse.