The Houston Rockets had to move on from Stephen Silas. Rebuilding a roster and playing primarily young players is a recipe for a lottery record, but the Rockets won just 59 games in three entire seasons with Silas; that's six fewer than they won in the 2017-18 season alone. Silas wasn't able to bring accountability, toughness or a coherent plan on either side or the ball, and that is why he is gone.
Now Ime Udoka enters as the new coach for Space City. This time last year he was coaching a Boston Celtics team into the NBA Finals. His track record suggests he will bring what Silas lacked, instilling this team with culture and a plan to improve.
What's more, Idoka's travels around the league as an assistant coach and then as a head coach in Boston mean he has plenty of connections to players. As the Rockets look to use their assets and cap space to make a big move this summer and improve significantly next year, the team could lean on Udoka's connections to players to identify trade targets.
Here are seven such players, starting with a player who could help bring defense, toughness and veteran savvy to a roster that has been without all three for quite some time.
Former Udoka players No. 7: Kyle Anderson
From 2012 through 2019, Ime Udoka served as an assistant coach on the staff of Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, and while there he coached a young forward named Kyle Anderson. The 6'9" Anderson went on to grow into a strong defender, passer and gluy guy with the Memphis Grizzlies, a role he carried over to the Minnesota Timberwolves this past year.
Anderson also clashed with his teammates, specifically Rudy Gobert, and if the organization chooses Gobert it could lead to Anderson being available. The Rockets could add a combo forward who can rebound and defend at a high level, and his ball movement on offense would help glue together a roster of individual scorers. Making just $9.2 million next season, Anderson could be affordable on every level for Houston next year.