Following a disastrous 4-7 start to the season, the Houston Rockets have fired head coach Kevin McHale, who signed an extension with the team last December.
The Rockets were a popular pick to make the Finals this year, especially because they hardly lost anyone from their Conference Finals run last season, and acquired Ty Lawson from the Denver Nuggets. However, they started this season 0-3, becoming the first team in NBA history to lose its first three games by 20 or more points.
Despite being loaded with offensive talent, the Rockets were just a measly 25th in offensive rating, scoring 101.2 points per 100 possessions. Their defense didn’t help matters, either, as their 109.7 points allowed per 100 possessions placed them 28th in the league. At first, Houston’s slump seemed tied directly to James Harden’s offensive woes, yet even as Harden regained his rhythm, the Rockets didn’t. They constantly looked out of sync, never fully playing together. This was apparent not just to viewers, but to the players, as well. Ty Lawson called a players-only meeting to address this issue, and it’s never a good sign when a team has to have this sort of gathering so early in the season.
Rather than wait to see what came of the meeting, the Rockets decided to fire McHale. It’s a bit surprising, but when a team underperforms to the extreme the Rockets have, there’s only so much a front office can do to stem the tide. They weren’t going to make any trades, so the only solution left to them (besides waiting it out), was to change the coach.