The process has lasted a few weeks and seemingly encapsulated about fifty interviews. Reportedly, the Rockets are closing in on finally hiring a head coach. According to Jonathan Feigen’s story on Chron.com, Dwayne Casey, Lawrence Frank, and Kevin McHale are the finalists for the job.
Before I break down the three, I have to say that I’m a little surprised both Mike Budenholzer (Spurs) and Mike Brown (ex-Cavs) haven’t gotten more consideration. Both seem like they could/have added the kind of defensive mindset and fresh blood the team needs.
To be honest, the reported list of three is not full of sexy names. Even if it upsets people, I’m just not thrilled with the idea of McHale as the next Rockets’ head coach. He wasn’t great in his couple of stints with the Timberwolves, and it just strikes me as an uninspired hire.
Casey actually worked under McHale in Minnesota, and has about a season-and-a-half’s worth of head coaching experience. Casey compiled a 43-59 record with the Twolves, which isn’t something to write home about. In his defense, he was let go in 2007, and the team absolutely collapsed after a 20-20 start.
From my vantage point, Casey strikes me as one of those NBA lifers who people in the coaching circles feels deserve a second crack at being a head coach. He’s an assistant with the Mavericks, and has apparently done a good job alongside Rick Carlisle. That’s fine, but as with McHale, I’m not jumping through hoops about the idea of Dwayne Casey.
Frank is the one candidate I’m a big fan of. He got his start surprisingly early with the Nets, and did a pretty good job in the latter Jason Kidd years. Frank’s record in New Jersey was 225-241, which doesn’t look great, until you consider that he went out after an 0-16 start with a terrible team in 2009.
All three candidates here have previous head coaching experience, which the Rockets have stated is an important qualification for the job. When I look to hire anyone for a second go around, I always ask about the reasons why. With Frank, he’s a very young coach who’s been away from the game for a few years, with a chance to be reinvigorated for the next time.
Plus, Frank replaced Tom Thibodeau as the lead assistant for Doc Rivers in Boston, so you know his X’s and O’s qualifications are not a problem. For a team that needs some youth and defensive mentality, I think Lawrence Frank is a pretty good fit.