The Houston Rockets followed a familiar script this season, winning a bunch of games while boasting one of the league’s most potent offenses led by MVP candidate James Harden. Unfortunately, they also perpetuated their history of unceremonious postseason exits.
After being ousted by the Lakers in five games in the conference semifinals, a shakeup was inevitable, and it wasn’t long before head coach Mike D’Antoni announced he planned on letting his contract run out and become a free agent instead of working out a new deal with the franchise. It raised the specter of whether head exec Daryl Morey might find himself on the hot seat as well, given the growing skepticism about the Rockets’ philosophy toward roster construction and the hefty price tag they paid, and will continue to pay, for acquiring Russell Westbrook.
However, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta put those questions to rest on Tuesday, throwing his full support behind Morey.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 15, 2020
The Rockets front office will face plenty of questions this offseason about they plan to retrofit their roster, given the financial realities involved, as well as what direction they want to go in terms of coaching. Morey Ball was as much a product of their data-driven GM as it was D’Antoni’s run-and-gun philosophy.
But another disappointing playoff run once again threatens to undermines the efficacy of that approach. Finding a coach to navigate the treacherous waters ahead will be no easy task. There are plenty of intriguing candidates. Alvin Gentry, Dave Joerger, Brett Brown, Kenny Atkinson, and Nate McMillan have all found themselves in the market suddenly, and there are a host of others.
It’s unclear whether Morey will stay the course with what’s carried the team this far or whether he plans to recalibrate his approach. Either way, it will be fascinating to watch, and he has ownership’s support to back him up.