Prior to the Houston Rockets' November 25th victory against the Chicago Bulls, their head coach, Stephen Silas, was proclaimed by every NBA outlet to be on the hot seat. However, Silas is far from the Rockets' most pressing issue.
Houston Rockets: Stephen Silas' Resume
Let’s take a look at the coach’s prior resume before he took the job to lead these rowdy Rockets.
Silas' father, Paul Silas, was an NBA champion with the Boston Celtics. He was also a coach for 25 consecutive seasons, eight of which were spent as head coach with the Hornets/Bobcats franchise and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Stephen Silas grew up around the NBA and NBA coaching staffs. In 2000, at 27-years-old, he became the youngest assistant coach in the NBA when he was brought on to the Charlotte Hornets.
From there, Silas worked his way up the coaching ladder. Along the way he coached LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and, in his final stop before taking the Rockets job, Luka Doncic.
Silas’ time with the Mavericks is the most relevant to our interests. Studying under Rick Carlisle, Silas’ learned from the absolute best in the game. Carlisle, in 13 seasons with the Mavericks guided a top-10 offense seven times and a top-half offense nine times.
The only seasons where the Mavericks were a below average offense were the lockout shortened season following a Championship and a three-season stretch that coincided with Dirk Nowitzki's age 38 to 40 seasons.
When Silas arrived in Dallas in 2018, the franchise had just landed Luka Doncic in a draft-day trade. The combination of Carlise, Luka, and Silas produced the efficient offense in NBA history up until that point. The 2019-20 Mavericks' led the league with an offensive rating of 116.7.
Houston Rockets: The Challenges Stephen Silas has faced
The Mavericks team that landed Silas the Rockets' head coaching job was stocked to the brim with talented offensive weapons. Point blank: The 2021 Houston Rockets don’t have anything like this in the current roster
When James Harden forced his way out of Houston in 2020, he took the Rockets' offensive identity with him. Silas was hired for his vision of offense built around Harden. Within a month he had the very foundation ripped from underneath him.
The Rockets' promising first-round picks from the 2021 NBA Draft have failed to give the team an identity. They’re a young team with an average age of 24.2 that plays fast and loose. This season is about adjusting to the NBA game, not generating a league-leading offense.
This isn’t to say Silas has been perfect. The Rockets' offense has looked schematically stagnant. Too often there has been little to no off-ball movement, too few pick and roll actions, and too many miscommunications.
Houston’s basketball squad has a laundry list of problems. They look immature, discombobulated, and even lost at times. At times, they even look like a team that has five 19-year-olds on the roster.
Unfortunately, that is the exact state the rebuilding Rockets find themselves in. It’s far too early to put all of the Rockets' problems on the shoulders of a second-year head coach.
Silas has been put in a very difficult situation. From the James Harden saga to the COVID-19 plagued 2020, he was dealt a losing hand. The front office would be making a huge mistake in firing Silas over circumstances outside of his control. With an improved roster and internal development, Stephen Silas can prove that he's the right man for the job.