Mike D’Antoni holds the highest win percentage among Houston Rockets head coaches all-time.
In 3+ seasons as head coach, D’Antoni is sixth among coaches for wins in franchise history. By the end of the season, he will likely pass Jeff Van Gundy, who is just nine wins ahead of him.
D’Antoni entered this year, the final one in his contract, without an extension. The Rockets have nobody on the books tabbed as their head coach for 2020-21, and it is not guaranteed to be D’Antoni.
Considering every head coach since Rudy Tomjanovich has coached no longer than five seasons, it’s time for the rubber to hit the road with MDA.
During the first half of the season, it appeared the Rockets were not going to arrive to their previous peak. Their 26-15 mark halfway through the season was four games back of where the team was two years ago — when the team reached the Western Conference Finals.
But with MDA’s success comes his ongoing saga: Can he get to the next level?
D’Antoni has yet to exceed his previous success since he was one win away from the Finals and questions linger as to if he’ll be able to match or exceed this success.
With the Rockets in the middle of the pack in the West, those questions leaned towards ‘no,’ especially after the Rockets finished January with a 7-7 record.
But the Rockets of now look very different than the Rockets in January.
The team’s swap of Clint Capela for Robert Covington has changed the shape of the team, one only an innovative coach like D’Antoni can mold and craft.
And with that switch came a lot of short-term positives. The team finished 9-2 in February, and the NBA awarded D’Antoni with the Western Conference Coach of the Month award.
If the Rockets played like they did in February, D’Antoni’s seat might not be as hot as it was earlier in the season.
And all signs are pointing to the Pocket Rockets not being just a small phase. The Rockets are committing to this system beyond this season. P.J. Tucker’s contract recently became fully guaranteed, Eric Gordon signed a contract extension over the summer, and Robert Covington has three years left on his deal. This ain’t a phase, baby.
If the Rockets believe this is the best chance for them to win a title, why not keep the architect behind it? Who would be able to coach the team better than its creator?
D’Antoni’s fate will be decided come playoff time, but his past ten games definitely have him cooling that seat just a little bit.