Shortly after the Houston Rockets lost their third straight and four out of five, former NBA champion Kendrick Perkins had harsh words for Mike D’Antoni.
After acquiring the services of Russell Westbrook to join forces with James Harden, the Houston Rockets had championship expectations going into the 2019-20 NBA season. With the team coming to within a game of the NBA Finals recently and both James and Russ repeatedly falling short of the ultimate glory throughout their careers, this season had a “ring or bust” mentality from the second that blockbuster deal was made.
After a disappointing week that saw the Rockets go 0-3 against the Grizzlies, Blazers and Lakers, it seems that it’s not only Rockets fans that are running out of patience with the team and how it’s being run. Soon after Houston’s 124-115 loss to the top-seeded Western Conference powerhouse Lakers, 14-year NBA veteran Kendrick Perkins took to Twitter to express his disappointment in how the team is being run.
An NBA champion in 2008 with the Boston Celtics, Perkins didn’t hold any punches in letting his social media following know what’s wrong with the Rockets:
I don’t understand for the Life of me how D’ANTONI keeps a job!!! This is ridiculous and sad to watch. He has 0 zero structure and calls no plays and just relying on ISO plays outta of James and Russ. People need to start pointing the finger that at him.
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) January 19, 2020
Kendrick has rarely been one to pull punches when it comes to his opinions. Clearly, what he’s seen from Mike D’Antoni so far this season hasn’t been enough to cut it, as he made it clear that he doesn’t know how the head coach has retained his position for this long. Perkins made it a point to call out the lack of organization in Houston’s offense and an over-reliance on the brilliance of Harden and Westbrook to carry the team to victories.
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D’Antoni deserves a lot of credit for how he changed offense in the NBA, particularly during his tenure with the Phoenix Suns, which specialized in lightning-quick buckets and transition offense. Now in his fourth year with the Rockets, however, his scheme doesn’t seem to be getting it done so far.
At 26-15, the Rockets are now down to sixth in the West. Even more discouraging, the team seemed to quit in the third quarter of Saturday’s contest after the Lakers showed signs of making a run and couldn’t get any stops when it mattered most. D’Antoni has faced criticisms regarding his lack of focus on defense throughout his coaching career and judging from reactions after the most recent loss, those are only being amplified.
Space City Scoop itself has questioned whether Mike D’Antoni is the right fit for the organization on several occasions, including a recent article in which we asked if he’s developing his young players as he should be. It’s still only January, and we’re still not sure if the team will make some moves to improve the team before the playoffs approach.
Yet judging by this past week, it’s clear that something must be done if the Rockets want to be legitimate contenders for the NBA crown in June. With the current combination of coaching and player personnel, this team has “second-round exit” written all over it. The next couple of months should be very telling as to the direction the team is heading.
Whatever must be done, it will need to be done soon before Houston finds themselves limping into playoffs as a low-seed on the way to another disappointing finish.