I will preface my opinion on this matter by saying I’m a big fan of Daryl Morey and the way he looks at basketball. Having said that, the report by Yahoo Sports’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Kevin McHale is now the front-runner to coach the Rockets underwhelms me.
McHale was a great player in the NBA, winning three championships with the Boston Celtics, racking up seven All-Star appearances and making the Hall of Fame. His post playing career is a bit of a mixed bag. McHale was the guy who took the leap of faith to draft Kevin Garnett in the 1995 NBA Draft, putting the Timberwolves on the map for a decade. But, McHale was never able to surround Garnett with the kind of talent it takes to really compete for an NBA title. Thus, Minnesota only advanced past the first round once in the KG era.
During his time with the Timberwolves, McHale was the interim head coach twice, finishing his run in Minnesota at that position in 2008-09.
Essentially, I’m surprised the Rockets haven’t thought more outside the box with this hire. If you look at the teams left in the NBA playoffs, three (the Heat, Bulls, and Thunder) have head coaches in their first go-around with that title. You don’t really need someone with previous head coaching experience, especially if the track record (in the case of McHale) is fairly mixed.
Why not take a chance with a Mike Budenholzer? Why not bring in Brian Shaw for an interview? How about making a run at Mike Brown? I think all three offer upside for the future.
At the end of the day, I realize that hiring the right head coach is about winning games, not winning the press conference (see Rich Rodriguez at Michigan). But, I would love to see the Rockets hire a head coach that you can easily jump aboard, from an excitement standpoint. Kevin McHale just doesn’t do it for me.