Hiring Mike No-D’Antoni Is Not A Good Thing For The Houston Rockets
The Rockets are all set to hire Mike D'Antoni as their next head coach, and that could work out very well -- if Brandon Stark can warg back in time and make the NBA like it was in 2006. D'Antoni is a solid coach, and did good things with the Phoenix Suns -- a 253-136 record, and two trips to the Western Conference Finals.
But that was then. These days it doesn't take long for the pace of events in this league to pass you by (see Jackson, Mark).
The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the two sides are negotiating a four-year deal, the last at the team's option. The past few interviews have been with potential D'Antoni assistants.
Suns management ran him out of town in 2008 to cover for their own decision-making deficiencies, and that sent him through the rabbit hole to stops with the Knicks, Lakers and 76ers (the latter as assistant coach) before arriving in Houston.
But this hiring comes with a bonus side order of red flags. Houston Chronicle:
The Rockets opted for D'Antoni, according to the person with knowledge of the team's thinking who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made, with a plan to have top defensive assistants on his staff and to improve defensively with roster changes while relying on D'Antoni's expertise to maintain the offense.
His stars are James Harden and Dwight Howard. Here how things could go wrong this coming season.
* The Rockets not only need a defensive overhaul, but a total retooling. Harden is a bearded Kobe Bryant who thinks of himself first in every situation. With him as your star, you will never develop the chemistry and ball movement needed to thrive in the modern NBA.
* D'Antoni doesn't care about defense. And as we see year after year, defense wins championships in the NBA.
* Howard is a free agent who is unlikely to stick with the Rockets. In their one season together in LA, Dwight was unhappy most of the time. The two are not exactly student and sensei.
* Remember when Don Nelson was head coach of the Golden State Warriors, and made assistant Keith Smart head coach of the defense? They even sometimes ran separate huddles during time outs. I'm getting that sort of vibe with the D'Antoni hire.
* D'Antoni is 65 years old. Harden and owner Les Alexander reportedly like him, and wanted a veteran, offensive-minded coach. But is this Houston's coach of the future? I'm not seeing it.
I'm rooting for a Mike D'Antoni/James Harden marriage - I want to see someone break Wilt's 100-point game.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) May 19, 2016
That's a passive-aggressive criticism by Simmons. I have no doubt that he really wants to see Harden score 101 points (who wouldn't?), but Rockets fans should fear that Houston would lose that game 143-130.
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