Names from former Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy to former Rocket and current talking head Kenny Smith and everyone in between had been rumored to be targets to be the next head coach. In the end, the name that Les Alexander picked out of a hat was former Suns coach Mike D'Antoni.
A fan apparently for a very long time of the up and down style of basketball that D'Antoni runs, Alexander finally gave control of the Rockets over to the creator of Seven Seconds or Less™.
During the press conference, Alexander asked D'Antoni to share a story about his time with the Knicks. D'Antoni went on to tell the media that his Knicks ran the Rockets out of Madison Square Garden, and after the game in a hallway, the coach overheard Alexander saying "why can't our team play like that?"
Well, his team will finally be able to do so.
"I've always wanted to play this way," Alexander said, "if you look at the three top teams in the West they all play that way, if you don't play that way you're not going to win."
D'Antoni went into neither the X's and O's, nor the ins and outs of his system, but he did make it clear he is excited to get to work with James Harden.
"He's good, good," Mike D'Antoni said of James Harden, "are mantra is going to be, 'have a career year,' and if he has a career year, he's might do things only one or two players have ever done."
Lots of people have speculated that Harden would flourish inside a D'Antoni system (like one-time TDS contributor Alykhan Bijani, now writing for Hardwood Paroxysm), saying he might be able to put up 30-plus points per game with 10 assists. It's no stretch to think that offensive Harden will thrive underneath a coach who builds an offense around him.
Everyone — media and fans included — were shocked, stunned that the Rockets had the cojones to hire D'Antoni, after all the signs pointed them needing a defensive coach. But the Rockets top brass believed that this is the way to get back to the promised land.
"A lot of times when organizations make coaching changes they tend to go out and hire everything the last guy wasn't," GM Daryl Morey said, "we wanted to make a smooth transition, we have a roster that's setup to be better in transition than in the half court."
The Rockets offense has been trying to run and gun for years, and whether you like that style of play or not, they finally have a coach that has made his money on making teams faster and scoring more points.