Houston Rockets: Does Stephen Silas deserve to stick around?
Stephen Silas, after 20 years as an NBA assistant where he helped develop Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic, finally got his chance to be the lead man in charge. When he initially took the job he thought he was inheriting an All-NBA backcourt with James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Silas pitched the Rockets on an offensive vision built around James Harden and went into training camp expecting Harden to give him and the Rockets a chance to prove that they could still be championship contenders. After eight games of lackluster effort, Harden was traded to the Brooklyn Nets and Silas was left with a roster light on talent and health.
The fact that Silas got the Rockets to play at a near-elite defensive level in the early going of the season amidst all of the uncertainty was a testament to his coaching acumen. However, following injuries to Christian Wood and Eric Gordon the Rockets roster simply didn’t have enough talent to compete and the wheels began to fall off.
The Rockets 17-55 record was the worst in the league, but how much of that was Silas’ fault? The team had the league’s fourth-worst offense but they took the highest percentage of their shots from within three feet of the rim or from 3-point range. The Rockets’ offense was designed to be successful but the players simply couldn’t capitalize.
Judging Silas after one year is nearly impossible. The roster was constantly in flux as the Rockets set an NBA single-season record for the number of players to appear in a game, the talent of the roster was continuously depleted through trades, injuries, and COVID which caused all sorts of problems, and condensed nature of the season meant that practice time was nearly non-existent.
Answering should Stephen Silas stick around is a fruitless venture. There is no possible way to know what type of coach he is. Everything about this past season screams mulligan.
If coaches are just to be judged by their record then Silas is the worst coach in the NBA. If coaches are to be judged by their situation then Silas is at worst an average coach. Tilman Fertitta is right to give him another shot but next year there won’t be any do-overs.