For those that were expecting a Stan Van Gundy-Dwight Howard reunion this summer, don’t get your hopes up. According to the Houston Chronicle, Kevin McHale will be returning to the Rockets’ sideline as head coach for the 2014-15 season.
Kevin McHale will return as the Rockets coach for next season, a person with knowledge of the decision said today.
McHale just completed the final guaranteed season of his contract, but multiple individuals with knowledge of the Rockets thinking have said management believes in him and wants him to have more time with a relatively new team that spent the season battling injuries.
via Kevin McHale to return as Rockets coach | Ultimate Rockets
Laced with talent in Dwight Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parsons, McHale didn’t leave a positive impression on viewers this postseason. Despite posting the fourth best offensive rating in the NBA during the regular season at 108.6, the Rockets’ offense often became stagnant, relying on Dwight Howard in the post or James Harden to create for himself at the top of the key. With no creativity in the offense to keep his role players involved or his putting his star players in the best situation to succeed a.k.a. a pick-and-roll involving the teams two best players in Harden and Howard, the Portland Trail Blazers struggled little to defend the Rockets.
All of what happened in the six games against the Blazers can’t be pinned on McHale.
It wasn’t on McHale when Lamarcus Aldridge didn’t miss in the first two games of the season, or when his star guard in James Harden refused to defend for 5 and 1/2 games, or when Damian Lillard chose to end the series in Game on a buzzer-beater, but McHale did little to put his team in situations that’d contribute to a winning series, being out-coached by Terry Stotts almost every step of the way. Instead they’re back at home, hoping next year they can build on a season where they won 54 games and clinched home court for the first round.
And that’s what McHale has going for him. After one full year of Howard+Harden as the stars, the front office sees what they need to do in order to take the next step as a contender in a loaded Western Conference. They’ll have some cap space to improve and with Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik as trade chips, they’ll be able to add more firepower to an already scary team while hoping one year is enough for McHale to get a grasp on how the Rockets should operate.
If not, it won’t be a shocker to see them go elsewhere after McHale’s contract is up after next season.