Mike D’Antoni is out, but who should the Houston Rockets hire to replace him as head coach?
Another year, another premature playoff exit followed by “one piece away” talk for the Houston Rockets. Mike D’Antoni took Morey-ball further than perhaps any other NBA head coach would’ve been willing to, but even he’s out after a second-round defeat at the hands of Houston’s personnel coming up short in its ultra small-ball approach, its superstars’ notable flaws and the Los Angeles Lakers, probably in that order.
Now the Rockets need a new head coach for a very particular brand of superstar in James Harden, without much flexibility to improve the roster around him — a roster that took a massive step backward last year in trading Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook.
Harden, Westbrook, Eric Gordon, Robert Covington, P.J. Tucker and Danuel House are all on the books for next season, meaning the ultra small-ball experiment isn’t going anywhere. The Rockets need a coach who can keep the Rockets’ radical offensive approach in check while balancing it out with a more competent defense.
Candidates fitting that description are exceedingly rare, but there are a few different options Houston should consider for its next head coach.
Honorable Mentions: Nate McMillan, Alvin Gentry