Houston (CBS Houston) – The Houston Rockets 11 games into a season, that has not started the way they expected went ahead and fired their head coach Kevin McHale Wednesday morning.
Last season McHale with a very injured got the Rockets off to a hot start and the team rewarded him with a three-year contract extension. They would then go on to make it all the way to the Western conference finals.
This year the Rockets have not looked anywhere close to the team that finished with the second best seed in the west. Or even the team that was able to rally down three games to the Clippers in the playoffs.
“The team was not responding to Kevin McHale,” Rockets G.M. Daryl Morey said when asked why he made the move “we had to make the tough call, and we had to make it soon there is not time in the tough western conference to wait for a turnaround”‘
After Tuesday’s practice, Ty Lawson made note that when Kevin McHale would make a defensive call the team would end up doing something else.
“Go back and look at the tape,” Lawson said “We was doing our own thing, coach would say run this pick and roll coverage and we would just call something totally different we’d have three or four different coverages and there was only one,”
They probably weren’t blatantly ignoring McHale, but it’s clear for whatever reason, this season the Rockets players and Kevin McHale have not been on the same page. While the team might have eventually fixed itself and played up to their potential it’s clear there was no time to wait around for it.
“There is not time in the tough western conference to wait for a turnaround,” Morey said.
If the playoffs started today, the Rockets would be on the outside looking in.
The Rockets will now look to their top assistant head coach J. B. Bickerstaff to right the ship.
Last season Bickerstaff was credited with the Rockets big turnaround on defense. The Rockets finished the season last year in the top 10 in defensive rating, giving up 103.4 points per 100 possessions good enough for eighth in the NBA. This season the Rockets have fallen to the third worst in the NBA giving up 109 points per 100 possessions.
It’s on Bickerstaff now to get the Rockets on the same page and get them back to the contenders they were before the season started.
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