Houston has had trouble in these playoffs. LaMarcus Aldridge has destroyed them scoring 89 points in two games, exposing matchup problems. The Rockets have struggled to get Dwight Howard and James Harden going at the same time. The two have taken turns but when Howard was going off in the first half of Game 2 Harden was just an interested spectator standing around, and when Harden is going off the reverse is true. For these reasons they are down 0-2 (going into Friday night in Portland).
Combine that with the fact Houston, with GM Daryl Morey at the helm, is the preeminent advanced stats NBA front office while McHale is old school and views the game differently and you start to wonder…
Does this slow playoff start impact Kevin McHale’s job safety since the team has his option on next season?
The Rockets have yet to pick up their option on the fourth year of Kevin McHale’s contract, but sources close to the situation said this week that support for Houston’s coach remains strong within the organization and among key players despite the team’s struggles thus far in the playoffs….
Although there is no guarantee he would survive a first-round exit — particularly a sweep — sources told ESPN.com that the prevailing feeling in team circles is that McHale “deserves more than one season with this group.” McHale has strong support from high-profile Rockets such as Howard and forward Chandler Parsons, sources said, and it’s believed general manager Daryl Morey and his front office also prefers to see this group — which is the youngest team in the postseason with an average age of 25.7 — grow together.
Sources say McHale likewise is regarded as a favorite of Rockets owner Les Alexander.
Having the owner in your corner is huge.
Giving McHale another year is the smart move here. Daryl Morey has admitted that there are a handful of teams with more talent than the Rockets around the league and that he had moves yet to make.
This was always going to be learning curve year for the Rockets — the addition our Howard changed the dynamic there and it was going to be a process. That is true of the playoffs in particular. This group needs some time together and to learn from some adversity.
This is a different situation than Scott Brooks in Oklahoma City, where the group has been together for years and if they are eliminated in the first round you can ask legitimate questions about player development and the growth of the team. Houston is just starting their time together and needs time to grow.
McHale deserves more time to see if he can coax and coach this team up into being a contender. The question about whether he is right for this team is better answered in 2015.