The Rockets will reportedly make Mike D'Antoni their next head coach, according to multiple reports. Adrian Wojnarowski reports they're going to surround him with "an experienced staff," including Jeff Bzdelik as defensive coordinator.
In this case, Leslie Alexander can take all the experience he wants and shove it up his ass, because this is a terrible hire. D'Antoni has flamed out in his last two jobs, pissed off players in the process, and has yet to prove that he's capable of adjusting his once-revolutionary system to his personnel or the modern NBA he helped create. Or that he can coach a lick of defense.
Jonathan Feigen reports the Rockets apparently don't care that Mike Antoni — as I shall heretofore call him — can't coach D.
Rockets hope to improve defense with personnel, staffing, relying on D'Antoni's expertise to maintain the offense, source said.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) May 26, 2016
"Maintain the offense." Yes, the Rockets have chosen a coach with the hope that the offense is the same, and intend to hire assistants to improve the area of the team that needs help. This is logic in Leslie Alexander's world, where he'd rather watch his team play uptempo basketball than, you know, win games.
I guess we should include the facts in this story before our collective psyche descends into the abyss from which return will be slow and painful. This will be Antoni's fifth NBA head coaching gig, after stints with the Nuggets, Suns, Lakers and Knicks. With the Suns, Antoni had a 389-253 record as a head coach and a 26-25 record in the playoffs. He was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2004-2005 season.
Antoni, in his last two stops with the Knicks and Lakers, had an 188-254 combined record over six seasons. Each team reached the playoffs once with D'Antoni at the helm, but were swept in four games. The Lakers team was swept in four games after Kobe Bryant ruptured his Achilles tendon at the end of the year because Antoni couldn't convince him to come off the floor. It's been reported many times that Antoni tried to bench Kobe, but Bean simply ignored him.
The Rockets are giving Antoni a four-year contract, according to ESPN's Calvin Watkins, which would mean a lot more if they hadn't fired Kevin McHale less than a season into a multiyear contract extension. NBA coaches don't accept much shorter contracts than that these days, even washouts like Antoni.
Maybe I'm being too harsh on Antoni and Alexander, but after this past season of watching the Rockets shit the bed on defense and the boards over and over, after Alexander said he wanted an active role in the coaching search, after multiple reports saying Alexander wanted to run an uptempo style, and after the above report saying the Rockets will rely on assistant coaches to implement a defensive system, I simply can't give Antonixander the benefit of the doubt. They have not earned it.
Now, the Rockets will turn their attention to free agency after being the last NBA team to hire a coach, coming in a few hours behind Memphis, who hired Heat assistant David Fizdale Wednesday afternoon. They have a has-been coach who had messy, high-profile breakups with the league's two biggest market teams, a superstar in James Harden who is routinely disrespected in the media, a GM who was put on blast on national TV and a roster that looks pretty friggin barren after Harden and a few nice young pieces.
Buckle up, Rockets fans. It's going to be a long year.