I don’t follow football. I like it, but I have trouble dividing my attention — I’m a one sport man. With that said, maybe someone in the comments can enlighten me:
What on earth happened to the Texans this weekend?
If I understand correctly, all they had to do was not make one play, and they could have had the number one pick. They made the play and passed up on a potentially generational quarterback? Is that true?
If the NBA had the same draft system, and the Rockets did the same thing, I would need intensive therapy. I’d be in a straightjacket in a padded room mumbling “Wembanyama....WEMBANYAMA”. Dear god.
Anyway, the Texans fired Lovie Smith. If you’ve been reading the tea leaves, that’s likely to be a theme in Houston sports in the coming weeks or months.
It feels like Stephen Silas is halfway out the door already. Whether fairly or not, the current situation feels untenable.
Who should be the Rockets’ next skipper?
Do the Rockets need an experienced hand?
Let it be said that I’m not the first to pose this question. SpaceGhost Rockets of The ChopShop just released a YouTube video on the topic. In my entirely unbiased and not at all closely-affiliated opinion, it’s a banger,
Space (I call him Space because I’m not a ChopShop contributor and this is not shameless cross-promotion) takes an interesting approach with his video. He’s not looking at his own personal preferences. Instead, he’s looking at all the candidates and ranking them by qualifications.
Three particularly interesting names emerge: Frank Vogel, Quinn Snyder and Kenny Atkinson. The Rockets would be lucky to add any of them.
Vogel is the most qualified of the three, but my preference would be Snyder. As the head coach of the Utah Jazz for several years, Snyder ran an interesting offense that wouldn’t deviate too significantly from the one the Rockets currently (try to) run. It’s a modernized pick-and-spread attack with some elements of motion. The basis of Snyder’s offense is the pick-and-roll, but he still implements off-ball screens, cutting and dribble hand-offs.
By contrast, neither Vogel nor Atkinson have as distinctive an offensive identity. Still, there would be benefits to landing either. Vogel is a defensive-minded coach. If you can’t see why the Rockets would benefit from that, I don’t know what to tell you.
Meanwhile, Atkinson oversaw a successful rebuild as the coach of the Brooklyn Nets. Those teams had less raw talent than the Rockets will next season, and he got them in good shape. Any of these options would be solid.
Should the Rockets be looking for a diamond in the rough?
Unearthing a gem
Frankly, this is my preferred course of action.
If you look at trends across the league in recent years, a lot of the best Head Coaches are first-timers. Nick Nurse. Will Hardy. Ime Udoka (indiscretions aside).
Think about it. Why are these veterans on the coaching carousel? Isn’t it because they're good, but they aren’t great? Erik Spoelstra won’t be available, because the Miami Heat found him, and they kept him.
If you’d prefer the Rockets hire a trusted veteran, that’s understandable. I’d like them to try to find their keeper.
He may already be on staff. A lot of Rockets fans would like to see Mahmoud Abdelfattah take the wheel. His high-octane, transition-heavy brand of basketball would suit the personnel the Rockets are likely to have next season. It’s sure done well for the Rio Grande Vipers.
Otherwise, hiring Sam Cassell has a lot of emotional appeal. It’s hard to pinpoint his offensive style — we’ve never seen him as a head coach in any capacity. Still, he’s a respected assistant around the league. Becky Hammon is another name the Rockets ought to consider. She comes from the Popovich tree, so she’s automatically a genius.
Compared to the veterans, any of these hires would be higher risk, with higher potential rewards. Do the Rockets have any in-house options besides Abdelfattah?
Keeping it in-house
In terms of veterans that are already on staff, we’re obviously talking about John Lucas and Lionel Hollins.
I’ll be completely honest — I find both of these options uninspiring. I don’t mean to disrespect either of these men, but surely there’s a reason they’ve both largely settled into assistant roles in recent years. Plus, hiring either comes with the risk of firing either - and losing a high-end assistant.
Again, this depends on what you favor. If you want the Rockets to pursue the next great NBA Head Coach, this isn't the play. Alternatively, if you just want to see a stabilizing force, Lucas is an especially appealing option. His voice is already respected in this locker room.
Finally, I’d be remiss to not discuss the possibility of keeping Stephen Silas on board. You know the argument — Silas was supposed to coach Harden and Westbrook, his system could work with Scoot Henderson, etc, etc.
Silas was put in an unfair position. I’ll die on that hill. Still, sometimes, when the writing is on the wall, it simply can’t be washed off.
Pick one of these for the next Rockets head coach
This poll is closed
Stephen Silas round two