The Houston Rockets hope to improve their defense under new assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik.
Hiring an offensive minded coach in Mike D’Antoni, the Rockets will look to better their defense by adding Jeff Bzdelik to their assistant coaching staff.
Bzdelik comes to the Rockets by way of Memphis where he was an assistant coach for the Grizzlies over the past two seasons. During his first season with the team, the Grizzlies ranked as the 4th best defensive team in the league, and had it not been for serious injuries to multiple key players, the Grizzlies likely would have been a top ranking defense during his second season as well.
With the Rockets having ranked in the bottom third in terms of defensive efficiency this past season, Bzdelik will look to transform the Rockets into a top-ten team on defense.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) June 3, 2016
“Nine out of the last 10 championship teams had a balance,” Bzdelik said, according to a Houston Chronicle article by Jonathan Feigen. “They were in the top 10 on defense and offense.“
“Two years ago, they (the Rockets) were very good defensively. The ability and the talent is there. There needs to be a mentality where all five guys understand that it takes all five guys to get a stop, everybody’s involved and if one guy doesn’t do his job, he’s an outcast.“
Bzdelik understands that in order for the Rockets to win a championship, they will need to be one of the better defensive teams in the league. In order for that to happen, each player will need to be held accountable on defense. As Bzdelik makes clear, the defensive load has to be carried by all five guys.
“We can’t be one-way runners,” Bzdelik said. “We want to run the basketball, but we have to get back on defense. What you want on offense is to score or get fouled, to get a wide-open shot with the right guys taking it. On defense, you have to stop those things. We want to force teams to take tough, contested twos outside the paint and inside the arc.”
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With D’Antoni at the helm, there is no doubt that the Rockets will look to run the ball. In order for their hustle on offense to pay off, however, they will need to show the same type of effort on defense.
Bzdelik seems to have the knowledge and experience needed to be a solid defensive coach. My worry is whether or not the players will be able to completely buy in to both coaches. It’s not that the coaches will be at odds with one another– they will definitely be on the same page– it’s just that players already have a hard time buying into a philosophy preached by a single coach.
That being said, if the players can commit to both D’Antoni and Bzdelik, I think the Rockets are in good hands.
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