Houston Rockets assistant head coach Jeff Bzdelik, who retired in the offseason, has just agreed to come out of retirement and come back to the Rockets to help tighten up the defense, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Jeff Bzdelik, the Rockets associate head coach for the past two seasons, to end his retirement and return to the Rockets, a person with knowledge of the decision said.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) November 5, 2018
Bzdelik has agreed to a deal for rest of the season, but won’t return full-time to Rockets until near the end of the month, league source tells ESPN. He will make an appearance for a brief time with group before then. https://t.co/Nm0lpwpP2L— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 5, 2018
When the Rockets lost Bzdelik over the summer to tend to family matters, many figured it was the biggest loss of the Houston offseason and would make more of an impact than losing Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute.
Well, the defense has slipped to 21st in overall team defensive rating after finishing 6th last year, and they’re currently 26th in points per possession after finishing 9th last year, and we’re about to find out of it’s really Bzdelik that makes all the difference.
#Rockets D currently ranks 26th in PPP allowed (28th in half-court). In comparison, last year, Houston was 9th in PPP allowed (8th in half-court). Half-court defense (switching) has been their biggest issue. Jeff Bzdelik instituted the ‘switching everything’ principles. Huge news— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) November 5, 2018
Also, according to Feigen, it’ll be several weeks until Bzdelik is back on the sidelines full-time, as he wraps up some of the family matters he initially left to attend to, and you can thank new Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta for working to bring Bzdelik back.
Bzdelik's return could be at least another week or several weeks away.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) November 5, 2018
Couple key points: His return unrelated to Rockets slow start. Had some things he wanted to address away from basketball. And, Tilman Fertitta was in frequent contact to make it happen, source said.
Fertitta had this to say:
“We’re excited to have Jeff back. He’s one of the great defensive coaches. We worked on him, and I think the team is excited to get him back”
Rockets fans are also glad to have Bzdelik back, and hopefully the Houston defensive prowess returns alongside him in this championship-or-bust year that’s started off like very few expected.