Houston Rockets Owner Les Alexander defends Mike D’Anotni in team’s press conference to announce new head coach.
The Houston Rockets officially announced their signing of head coach Mike D’Antoni today during the organization’s 2pm press conference.
Among interesting things said was Rockets owner Les Alexander’s immediate explanation of the hire to fans and “naysayers”.
With many people expecting the Rockets to hire a defensive minded coach, fans were upset when the Rockets announced that they were going with D’Antoni.
Alexander made it clear that he was interested in hiring a coach who is able to implement the type of offense that is being championed in today’s league– an offense of which D’Antoni was basically the pioneer.
In addition to that, Alexander also made note that he and general manager Daryl Morey made the hire together, a notion that many have challenged since hearing that D’Antoni was the top candidate.
Of the possible candidates, I still believe Van Gundy was Morey’s favorite. Alexander can spin the narrative whichever way he wants, but it’s hard for me to believe that D’Antoni was both men’s mutual favorite. That being said, I’m sure Morey is still happy with the hire.
The most important thing announced at the press conference was that the Rockets were also in the process of hiring defensive minded assistants to help D’Antoni on that side of the ball, with D’Antoni citing Jeff Bzdelik as his “defensive guy”.
D'Antoni introduces Bzdelik as "my defensive guy."
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) June 1, 2016
Again, many have worried that D’Anotni would be unable to improve the Rockets defense. Having ranked in the bottom third in terms of defensive efficiency last season, the Rockets will need to improve in order to be a contender.
Jeff Bzdelik comes to the Rockets by way of Memphis where he was an assistant coach with the Grizzlies. During his tenure in Memphis, the Grizzlies ranked within the top ten in defense each season, except for this past season in which they faced serious injuries to multiple key players.
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Personally, I was really hoping the Rockets would go with Stephen Silas as their “defensive guy”, but Bzdelik seem like he will be a good fit as well. The question will be whether or not the players will be able to buy in to both D’Antoni and Bzdelik.
Overall, it seems like owner Leslie Alexander is happy with his hire. It also seems as though he has taken note of our criticism. Here’s to hoping he made the correct decision.
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