Before the All-Star break, the Rockets had a defensive rating of 112.2 (points allowed per 100 possessions), 25th in the NBA.
After the All-Star break, the Rockets had a defensive rating of 105.3, second best in the NBA. In the playoffs, the Rockets had a 107.3 defensive rating despite six games against the Warriors.
There are multiple reasons for that change, but a key one: The Rockets backed up the Brinks truck and brought assistant coach and defensive specialist Jeff Bzdelik out of retirement to help fix the problems.
Bzdelik will not be back with the team next season, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
Technically Bzdelik was fired, although that is not an accurate description of really what happened here. This was not because of poor job performance, it was a question of if he really wanted to be there, and the Rockets wanted someone all-in. Understandably. This is a Houston team still on the cusp of a title, just one that has run headlong into the Warriors dynasty in recent years. A dynasty that likely will look a lot different next year, opening the door in the West. The Rockets want to push through that door.
That said, replacing Bzdelik will not be easy.
It’s one of a number of challenging choices for the Rockets this summer.