Houston played relatively fast under Kevin McHale — they were top five in the NBA two seasons in a row — and were seventh fastest this season under mostly J.B. Bickerstaff’s guidance.
Maybe that’s not fast enough for GM Daryl Morey.
While all the talk has been about Jeff Van Gundy (who has yet to interview with the team) or maybe Frank Vogel — both defensive minded guys — it is Mike D’Antoni who got a second interview with the team, reports Marc Stein and Calvin Watkins with ESPN.
Sources told ESPN.com that D’Antoni, currently serving as associate head coach with the Philadelphia 76ers, was summoned for a second sit-down with the club — this time face-to-face with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander — after impressing in his first interview.
The Rockets, sources say, would seek to hire a coach with strong defensive credentials, to essentially serve as D’Antoni’s defensive coordinator… Sources say Jeff Van Gundy has received strong support from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to make a return to Houston for a second stint as the team’s coach, but also maintain that Alexander has yet to be fully sold on a reunion with the ESPN analyst, who has been working in television since the sides parted ways in May 2007.
D’Antoni is an innovative coach who has done a better job than his critics give him credit for, but he wants to win his way and with his style — that means putting together a roster that fits his style. James Harden can mesh with that certainly, and Dwight Howard is gone either way so that’s not a problem. Guys under contract such as Patrick Beverley, Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza and others certainly could play roles. Heck, Michael Beasley might thrive. However, guys such as Donatas Motiejunas may be a tougher fit.
The Rockets interviewed a lot of people from across the NBA spectrum, but this would be an interesting fit for a team that feels it is on the cusp and just a couple players away. And the right coach.