Rockets News

Kelvin Sampson: Kevin McHale’s Long term replacement


Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

If you are like me and have watched any of the Houston Rockets games this year then you have noticed something that no one in the media is talking about. Wait for it.. The Rockets are a very dangerous team that should be a lock for a playoff spot. Don’t believe me then look at the proof.

Game one they beat a terrible Detroit Pistons Team and James Harden showed how Much of a scoring threat he can be. Game two they beat an Atlanta Hawks Team that will be in the playoffs this year behind Harden’s jordan-esque forty-five point performance. The Next two games they lost to the Portland Trail blazers, a game they should have won, and to the Denver Nuggets who is predicted to give most teams fits. None of the games were a blow out and most were decided in the last eight minutes of the game. Houston barely Lost to the Memphis Grizzlies and the Miami Heat. They got contributions in every statistical column from various members of the team, and you see there is hope for the “New Age” in Houston.

This team performing like they have been with no chemistry and no clear understanding of the offense or defensive schemes is inspirational, and I have to give credit where credit is due. Coaching has a lot to do with realizing potential and building a winning tradition. Thank you Kelvin Sampson. Some people will read that last statement and not understand why I said Mr. Sampson instead of Mr. McHale. The reason is simple, I do not believe that the team responds to Coach McHale’s coaching style the same way they do with Coach Sampson’s style of coaching.

For everyone who does not know the pedigree of the coach Houston has in Mr. Sampson, Google him. Some Highlights include two time National Coach of the year in the college ranks. Coach Sampson possesses the highest winning percentage in Oklahoma history (.721). He guided Oklahoma University to eight consecutive 20-win seasons. He averaged 25.0 wins over those eight campaigns and 26.0 victories over the last six years. He directed the Sooners to postseason tournament berths in each of his 11 seasons (10 NCAA Tournaments), with a Sweet 16 showing in 1999, a Final Four appearance in 2002 and an Elite Eight appearance in 2003.

Given that the Rockets are the youngest team in the league it is no surprise that the players play harder for Coach Sampson and in general respond better to his style of coaching. Its going to be interesting to see how the team plays during his reign as head coach. Short of the Isolation plays called four out of the last six possessions against the Heat i think he has done an excellent job. The fact that his rotation includes Terrence Jones, Daequan Cook and Greg Smith I am sure goes a long way in the practice sessions and locker room with regards to morale. My hat is off to him and the team.