Making sense of the situation
Hopefully this puts an end to the speculation that the Rockets and D’Antoni are going to part ways, because frankly that doesn’t add up. D’Antoni comprised a custom-built small-ball system which was designed to get the best out of Russell Westbrook.
The Rockets have certainly gotten that out of Russ, as he’s having a career year of sorts and has silenced all critics who thought he wouldn’t be a fit in Houston. It’s also important to understand that the Rockets don’t have a starting caliber traditional big man on their entire roster.
Sure, we’ve seen enough out of Isaiah Hartenstein to know that he should be getting more minutes, but have we seen enough to make him an instant starter? Even if we were to play the hypothetical game, the reality is a new coach would likely want to play a true big man.
In fact, how many other teams are there that don’t have a starting caliber big man on their roster? Part of the reason why the Rockets’ small ball approach was so newsworthy was because of how unorthodox this approach was around the league.
So we can’t assume that the Rockets could just plug-and-play a new head coach and yield the same system and same results. This offensive system was both designed by Mike D’Antoni and designed for Mike D’Antoni.
Just because we hear rumors circulating doesn’t exactly mean a change is on the horizon, and especially not when the person in question is in a contract year.