Houston Rockets: Jeff Van Gundy is a retread the franchise deserves

Former Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Former Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets are reportedly interested in the services of Jeff Van Gundy to be their next head coach. What does this say about the future? Look.

The Houston Rockets‘ season remains wildly up in the air as the times forge ahead through this challenge of trying to defeat a pandemic that happens once in a lifetime.  This malady will change the way we live life as we know it and we’ve all have to come grips with it.

Things will get back going again but the new “normal” that people talk about will certainly ring true.  Until a viable treatment plan or vaccine is in mass production for the public to access, social distancing is going to stay here for a long time.

There are hopes that a vaccine will be available early next year — as well as treatments — but that’s all predicated on things going right and with this being something that this generation of humans has never dealt with before, there will be trial and error in terms of solutions.

I’d imagine that there are only a handful of people on this Earth that were alive when the Spanish Flu pandemic was prevalent in the early 20th century so we can only go off the research, not necessarily first-hand testimony on what was done to solve the problem.

But in the world of sports, things are largely on pause as professional leagues figure out the best way to restart and there still remains a lot of disagreement on how that’s going to look.  In the near-term, we may have to prepare to watch our favorite teams from afar with our hopes pinned that we’ll be able to see them in the stadium/arena in the not-so-distant future.

Who knows if the Houston Rockets are going to be able to finish up the 2019-20 season, where their last game played was March 11, a 117-111 win over Minnesota Timberwolves.  They currently hold a 40-24 record, holding the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference.

I’m sure things would’ve changed quickly to cause them to ascend but we may never know if Mike D’Antoni‘s “nuclear option” to sustain his viability — trying to win basketball games without a center — would actually work.

As time progresses, it’s looking like the Houston Rockets will not be bringing him back for bonus rounds as Tilman Fertitta remains firm on him having a contract that’s heavily incentive-based, something that he rejected last offseason.

D’Antoni is still quite talented and he’ll be able to land a job if he wants to in the NBA if he wants to keep working but he’d likely be relegated to being a top assistant coach elsewhere.

As usual, when there’s a coaching change being considered, former Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy’s name typically starts floating around in rumors.

NBA Insider Sam Amick thinks that D’Antoni won’t be back and he’s hearing that the Houston Rockets could be looking at Van Gundy, 58, as a suitable replacement.

It’s absolutely amazing — it has been more than a decade since he last coached in the NBA, ironically with the Rockets and his name still remains relevant even in today’s world of basketball.  What certainly has helped is his work as a TV analyst with ABC plus with USA Basketball, continuing to keep him sharp and on the leading edge.

Van Gundy is well-respected in NBA circles and I’d expect that would be the same for the Houston Rockets’ players as well.  The defense will be shored up and the offense will likely take a slight step back as that’s never been a focus of JVG’s mindset.  I can make the case that this team will have the No. 1 defense in the league if JVG takes over.

Gone will be the days of a “seven seconds or less” offense and it will be a curated offense that’s focused on finding the best shot to score, not always the three-pointer which is something we’ve all had to live with over the past few seasons under D’Antoni.

I’m an unequivocal fan of D’Antoni but I think they have reached their ceiling with him and barring a Chris Paul hamstring injury back in the 2018 Western Conference Finals, this likely would’ve not been a talking point considering the Houston Rockets would’ve been the world champs.

It’s still a crapshoot because I’d imagine Van Gundy is quite comfortable earning a few million dollars a year to talk about what he loves most a few days a week.  But that hunger to compete —

More from House of Houston

to win a championship — may be something that he has the fire to pursue to fill-out an already-storied resume in the game of professional basketball.

Here’s the deal — let the chips fall where they may but I think he’d be a perfect fit for James Harden and Russell WestbrookEric Gordon, Robert Covington, Danuel House and the others will rally behind him and you’d likely see the rebirth of a new era even with the retread of a head coach that he would be.  I’m certainly up for this experiment.

The old adage is that things are never as good as the first time but I really do think that trend could be bucked if the Rox and JVG could come to an agreement.

Van Gundy was so coveted that the Rockets traded for him in exchange for a 2nd-round pick back in 2003, which something you rarely see in the coaching ranks these days.

We’ll have to keep an eye on this offseason but let’s hope we get a finish to this season first…

Next. Rockets: What a new world of training could look like. dark

Van Gundy compiled a 328-182 record with Houston through four seasons, making him the 5th-all-time in terms of winning percentage (.555).  In contrast, D’Antoni leads all Rockets’ coaches at .687 (310-213 record all-time).