The Houston Rockets have fired Kevin McHale, the coach told ESPN’s Chris Broussard on Wednesday. The news was earlier reported by Yahoo! Sports. Rockets’ assistant J.B. Bickerstaff will serve as interim coach.
The Houston Rockets are 4-7 thus far this season. They sit in 11th place in the Western Conference currently, a position that most definitely would be referred to as a slow start for a team that was regarded as a Western Conference contender this season.
BUT, pump the brakes a bit……we’re only 11 games into the season and let’s take a look at some factors that may have lead to a slow start:
- The addition of point guard Ty Lawson. It takes time to learn to play with new players, especially lightning quick, push-the-ball point guards who want to go, go, go. Lawson changes the dynamic of this team as well as the team chemistry. This takes time to adjust, a lot more time than 3 weeks.
- Dwight Howard has missed 4 of the 11 games so far this season. Say what you will about the level of play coming from Dwight Howard (or his general malaise of interest in playing hard, consistently), he IS in fact a big part of the Rockets success and cohesiveness. He’s missed 4 games, that’s an adjustment for teammates and especially NEW teammates.
- Reminder: IT’S ONLY 11 GAMES INTO THE SEASON!
- James Harden is not quite up to form yet, he’s maintained his scoring average from his MVP-run, last season (27.3 ppg) but he has needed 2.2 extra shots per game to get it. And the eyeball-test has shown that he just doesn’t quite look like his complete self yet (Kardashian theory?). According to ESPN stats: Twenty-nine players are averaging at least 15 field goals per game this season, and among them, only Kobe Bryant (33.6) has a worse field goal percentage than Harden (37.2).
- I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. The Houston Rockets are the best Juco-team I’ve ever seen. Translation for those unfamiliar with Juco (Junior College) basketball: A ton of great individual players, great athletes and great “potential”, BUT no real team cohesiveness, attention to detail or TEAM PLAYERS that necessarily respond well to coaching. You’ll see several great individual performances in every game, surrounded by terrible team play, bad ball-movement, ZERO movement WITHOUT the ball, and non-existent team defense…..or on-the-ball defense for that matter.
- Sidenote: Don’t get me wrong, LOTS of great players come out of Junior College, let me repeat that: LOTS OF GREAT PLAYERS. But, when Juco-ball goes bad….it’s the worst version of playground hoops you’ve ever seen. The Rockets are the BEST version of the WORST brand of basketball in the NBA. They’re ONLY going to be erratic and unpredictable, with glimpses of greatness when everything is going well.
McHale was in his fifth season with the team, in the first year of a three-year extension worth more than $12 million that he signed last December. He was coming off an 56-26 season where the Rockets reached the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1997. And 11 games into the 2015-16 season, FIRED. Wow.
It’s a surprise (even in the NBA) that McHale was let go after only 11 games this season, it only furthers the point that we already know about the NBA; The NBA is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately type of league, to it’s complete and total fault. I feel sorry for whoever takes over the team full-time, this is a no-win situation for ANY coach now.