Everything is at stake for Mike D’Antoni
Mike D’Antoni, in the last year of his contract with the Rockets, would all but guarantee his departure from Houston if the Rockets lose Game 7. The exit would add another horrible playoff collapse to the innovative coach’s long list of failures.
This Rockets team is likely D’Antoni’s last real chance at a title. At 69 years old and carrying the baggage of past playoff failures, D’Antoni will be hard-pressed to garner much attention from teams with real championship aspirations.
The success D’Antoni has had in Houston is real, but the stink of losing in the first round in a championship or bust season would be too much for the NBA’s most innovative coach to overcome.
Everything is at stake for Daryl Morey
Daryl Morey’s status as one of the NBA’s best general managers is on the line Wednesday. If the Rockets lose, his bold summer shake-up to trade Chris Paul and two first-rounders for Russell Westbrook would prove to be disastrous.
Not only would the move not have pushed the Rockets over the top, but it would have weighed them down as Chris Paul, the very player jettisoned, would advance to the second round. To make matters even direr for Daryl Morey, he already cost the Rockets an incalculable amount of money over his tweet that supported the Hong Kong protests.
A first-round playoff exit would be the cherry on top from a suspect year and all the excuse needed to send Morey packing.
Everything is at stake for microball
When the Rockets decided to discard a traditional center to place as many shooters as possible on the floor, they bucked an NBA convention as old as the sport itself. For all of basketball’s history, height has been supremacy.
What the Rockets have embarked on this season with microball is as unconventional as it is revolutionary. The results, in many respects, have been impressive, but a first-round exit at the hands of the Thunder would relegate it to a simple gimmick in the consciousness of many NBA fans.
While other coaches might add a micro-lineup to their rotations, it would hardly spell the end for the traditional center. Microball was meant to maximize this roster. If that means a first-round exit, who else would want to die on that hill?
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