Houston Rockets' Ime Udoka wins NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month award

The Houston Rockets' Ime Udoka was recognized for a steller March
The Houston Rockets' Ime Udoka was recognized for a steller March / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

Beware the Ides of March. Unless you're a fan of the Houston Rockets. In that event, March has been quite kind to you.

It seems like the NBA is ready to recognize that. Rockets head coach Ime Udoka was just named the Western Conference Coach of the Month for March.

Did he deserve it?

Houston Rockets' Ime Udoka deserves award

Undeniably. If you disagree, we don't know what you've been watching. The numbers dictate that Udoka deserved the league's Coach of the Month award.

Here's a number: 11. That's how many games the Rockets won consecutively in March. Generally, that will earn you a Coach of the Month award. All told, the Rockets went 13-2 in March.

Those aren't the only numbers worth looking at. The Rockets had a 118.8 Offensive Rating in March - fourth in the NBA. Their 110.4 Defensive Rating placed sixth. That amounted to a Net Rating of 8.4 - fourth league wide.

If you look beyond the numbers, the Rockets' accomplishments in March get even more impressive.

Houston Rockets face adversity and win

The Rockets have been on a tear in March. They did without someone who's widely seen as their best player. When Alperen Sengun got injured, their season was supposed to be over.

Instead, the Rockets surged. Give Udoka some credit for that development. The decision to slot Amen Thompson in as their starting 4 was bold. So far, it has paid dividends.

There's a bit of a modified Ewing effect at play here. The Rockets aren't better without Sengun, but they are different. By running Jabari Smith Jr. at the 5, the Rockets have been able to switch more aggressively on defense. Opponents weren't able to adjust.

We're still going to give Udoka credit. He's a renowned defensive mind, and the team's schemes have been effective. Udoka is also seen as a leader of men - it feels likely that's motivated this team to play with defensive effort.

With that in mind, he was rightfully rewarded as the NBA's Western Conference Coach of the Month.