Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Wednesday Windmill: The Rockets are more dysfunctional than we thought
Earlier today, the Houston Rockets (5-7) fired their head coach Kevin McHale and handed the interim-head coaching duties to J.B. Bickerstaff. The decision by the Rockets to fire McHale took me completely off guard as it did a lot of people who religiously follow the NBA. The main takeaway from this firing is that the Houston Rockets are way more dysfunctional than we realized.
What initially appeared to be a rough start to the season turned out to be something so serious that firing Kevin McHale, one of the smartest minds in basketball, was deemed as the only way to save the season. Trust me on this one: When getting rid of Kevin McHale is viewed as a necessary move to save your season, that's much more of a reflection on you than it is on Kevin McHale.
To say "Houston, we have a problem" would be incredibly cliché, but in truth, it's probably the most appropriate thing to say at this point. The Rockets have a problem and it's unclear what its source is or how it will go away.
What's weird is that this was a team that was in the Western Conference Finals last year and appeared capable of competing with the eventual NBA champion Golden State Warriors. James Harden was a legitimate MVP candidate and Dwight Howard played his best basketball since 2009, which was when he led the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals. They added Ty Lawson in the offseason and appeared poised to make another deep playoff run. So, what exactly could have gone wrong?
One possibility is that Rockets GM Daryl Morey overreacted to a slow start. GMs can get quick triggered at times, but usually, it's only the bad GMs that overreact and do something stupid. Perhaps Morey is one of those bad GMs. Or, perhaps there was something really defective in the locker room that Kevin McHale didn't have the ability to fix. But if that's the case, then the solution should be to get rid of what's defective and keep McHale on board.
The weird part about this is that Morey makes it sounds like things between McHale and the Rockets were broken beyond repair just one season after the team was in the Western Conference Finals. I'm really not sure how things could be this badly broken. It truly puzzles me.
Anyways, I could go on and on with speculation about what went wrong or what Morey thinks went wrong, but in truth, none of us know but Daryl Morey and it sounds like not even he knows what's wrong with his team. What I can say for certain is that the Rockets are really dysfunctional and not in a good place. Teams on course to compete for a championship don't fire their head coach midseason. Given that most of us thought the Rockets were a team that was potentially on such a course, we can't help but scratch our heads in befuddlement and admit that we were wrong.