As first reported by Mark Berman, the Houston Rockets recently announced the hiring of three new assistant coaches.
NBA source: The Rockets are adding Lionel Hollins, Mike Batiste and Mahmoud Abdelfattah to Stephen Silas’ staff.— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 4, 2022
The Rockets brought in NBA Champion, All-Star in 1978, and former head coach and defensive specialist Lionel Hollins. Mike Batiste is a former Euro League MVP and recently was an assistant for the Washington Wizards. The third hiring was Mahmoud Abdelfattah, who, as you know by now, led the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to the G- League championship last year.
Coach Abdelfattah has risen the ranks within the Rockets organization. From intern to assistant coach on the 2019 Vipers championship team under Joseph Blair to now head coach of the 2021-22 G-League champions. Stephen Silas and the Rockets front office know Abdelfattah well as he has worked closely with the team even before this year during the off-season. He usually helps the Rockets run summer practices and scouting for the draft each year.
The Rockets now only get someone in Abdelfattah who is familiar with several players on the team from his time coaching with the Vipers. They also are getting one of the best offensive minds in the G-League who now brings that knowledge to the Rockets.
Coach Abdelfattah will fine tune the Rockets’ offense next season
It has been established that certain coaches will have more defined roles next year with the Rockets, but it would be a good idea to have Abdelfattah run the offense along with Silas. During the Vipers championship year, I watched every game as part of my role covering the team. The Vipers constantly pushed the ball and ran at almost every opportunity. They pushed the pace and spread the court, enabling them to be the best offensive team in the G-League and the best of all time.
Last year, the Vipers were first in scoring at 124.5 a game, which was almost three points more a game than second place. They were Number one in three-pointers made and offensive rating. They also crashed the boards, which led to being number one in second-chance points. That is a fantastic combination when you can be number one in scoring and first in second-chance points. That means you are taking advantage of every opportunity on the offensive end.
Coach Abdelfattah gives his players the freedom to make mistakes, so players are not playing scared on the court, worrying about being taken out of the game after every mistake. As mentioned before, Abdelfattah has a lot of experience with several players on the team. He coached Daishen Nix, KJ Martin, Josh Christopher, Kevin Porter Jr, Usman Garuba, and Garrison Mathews. So he already knows what works and doesn't work for these players and will be able to hit the ground running on day one.
It is great that the Rockets didn't let a talent like Coach Abdelfattah get away. In the past, former Vipers coaches like Nick Nurse and Joseph Blair have gone on to succeed in the NBA for other franchises. With the three hirings yesterday, the Rockets have put together a great coaching staff around Silas that should give them the best chance at improving the Rockets two-year run as the worst team in the NBA.