Have you ever stared a bad decision directly in the face but you went ahead and did it anyway? Going in, you knew it was the unjustifiably wrong thing to do, like getting behind the wheel of a car after you’ve been drinking or having unprotected sex with that person you just met but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
Well the Houston Rockets are currently in that exact same predicament. They’re coming off a post-season in which they were thoroughly embarrassed. They’ve been drinking, they’re delusional, desperate and their judgment is clearly clouded. And now they have a stranger in their sights and are about to drive off down the road with destiny looming. That ride is Mike D’Antoni and that destiny is another losing season.
Bad decisions have been the Houston Rockets modus operandi lately so if nothing else, hiring D’Antoni as their next head coach at least means they’re consistent.
When we last left Mike D’Antoni, he was being run out of Los Angeles. Little did we know that the Lakers would actually have a WORSE season right after he left but that was largely in part to the Kobe Bryant Launch ‘Em Up Farewell Tour of 2015-16. Before that, D’Antoni struggled for four seasons with the New York Knicks but let’s be honest, who wouldn’t struggle coaching that clusterfuck of a franchise.
D’Antoni’s only real success came when he made near contenders out of his run-and-gun Suns. They never got to the Finals… but they got really, really close. I guess Houston is hoping D’Antoni can somehow recreate that success. Someone should probably tell them that came a decade ago, back when Amare Stoudemire was relevant.
Back then, D’Antoni made a two-time MVP out of Steve Nash, or perhaps it was Steve Nash that made Mike D’Antoni look like he could coach. Either way, those two made quite the splash but like I said, that was eons ago by NBA standards.
This is nothing personal but Mike D’Antoni coaching the Houston Rockets has to be one of the worst ideas I’ve heard in a long time, so much so that I feel sorry for the poor people who have to work in the Rockets’ ticket sales department. Can you imagine that phone call? “Hello there. I work for the Houston Rockets and I’m calling to ask if you’d like to welcome Mike D’Antoni as your new head coach and if you’d be interesting in purchasing season tickets. Click. Hello?”
I take that back. There’s one person in Houston who’s happy about D’Antoni taking over the reins and that’s James Harden. D’Antoni likes a high-powered, fast break offense. He knows no other way to coach. The bearded Mr. I’ve-Never-Met-A-Shot-I-Didn’t-Like must be salivating at the thought of taking even MORE shots than he already does. That being said, an up and down type of offense might not be suited for Dwight Howard who, while only 30 years old, has already been in the league for twelve years, has had countless surgeries and has basically had a beef with every coach he’s ever played for. Jason Terry, who was on the Rockets last year, likes to shoot as well but he’s also getting a little long in the tooth.
Either way, odds are neither of those two will be on the roster next year which means Harden could end up breaking the all-time single season record for field goal attempts.
Let’s be honest. Nothing short of the cosmic coaching lovechild of Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach could fix the mess that is these Houston Rockets. Putting D’Antoni on the sidelines is like spraying charcoal fluid onto an already raging fire. It’s like eating pizza when you already have really bad heartburn. It’s like dating a Kardashian. It’s AJ Cowling driving OJ Simpson down the Los Angeles freeway. It’s going to end really, really badly. It’s just a matter of when.
Isn’t there anyone in the Houston front office with enough sense to just say no? I guess not considering these are the same people who fired Kevin McHale after he took this very same team to back-to-back fifty win seasons.
After the season they had, Houston fans have probably given up. Not that I can blame them. The good news for Rocket fans is that D’Antoni is not the only coaching consideration. The bad news is that it doesn’t really matter who they hire. This team is going to suck for quite some time.
It’s just that with D’Antoni as their coach, the sucking will draw a lot more attention.