With the Houston Rockets winning nine of their eleven games during the month of February, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni was named Western Conference Coach of the Month.
Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni has had quite an interesting turn of events over the past nine months. If you recall, D’Antoni and the Rockets weren’t able to come to terms on a new contract during the offseason, which forced the lame-duck coach to complete the final year of his deal.
This led to questions about MDA’s future with the Rockets, and it wasn’t long before we heard reports that the Rockets wouldn’t be bringing him back next season. On top of that, the Rockets got off to a 26-15 start through the first 41 games, which included a four-game losing streak in the month of January, as they struggled to maximize Russell Westbrook‘s strengths.
MDA made the decision to shift strategies and go all in on the microball gameplan, which paid dividends in the month of February. The Rockets went 9-2 in February and pulled off impressive wins against playoff teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz, not to mention two victories against the Boston Celtics.
With the most recent victory over the Boston Celtics, the Rockets are currently riding a six-game winning streak, and a 39-20 record for the season. This has the Rockets in fourth place in the Western Conference and only 1.5 games back of the second seed, which could make a big difference come playoff time.
The Rockets’ impressive turnaround in February landed D’Antoni the Western Conference coach of the month. This is D’Antoni’s fifth time winning this award during his tenure as the Rockets coach, and the second time he’s won the award in February during the same span.
We raised the question of whether the Rockets’ small-ball success would lead to a contract extension for D’Antoni, who has already proven himself to be the Rockets’ winningest coach in team history. Not only that, D’Antoni has won more games than any other coach in the league since taking over as the head coach of the Rockets, as pointed out by Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic.
It remains to be seen if D’Antoni will get an extension, but it’s safe to say at this point the price tag will be significantly higher following the Houston Rockets’ success this season. Congrats to D’Antoni on winning his first Coach of the Month award this season, and hopefully the Rockets will be able to put together similar months the rest of the way.
If so, he could very well nab another Coach of the Month award, and even land himself in consideration for Coach of the Year.