Mike D’Antoni is one of the most creative offensive minds of this generation, perhaps one of the main reasons the NBA has ushered in an era of volume 3-point shooting. His Seven Seconds or Less Phoenix Suns teams of the past decade were groundbreaking, and perhaps even a bit before their time.
Now in Houston with the Rockets, D’antoni sees an opportunity for his team to move with even more Pace. Houston was the 26th team In terms of pace last season according to Basketball-Reference, but now they have Russell Westbrook and D’Antoni says that that could be the spark plug that pushes them back into the land of pace.
Houston is already the number one team in terms of pace this year, and question about how Westbrook will fit with James Harden has not yet been answered. But it does make sense that the team could get out on the break more often: Westbrook is a monster in that regard, and Harden is one of the best passing guards in NBA history off of rebounds.
Do the Rockets have a real chance of winning the championship? It’s hard to say, but if they can run a quick pace, D’Antoni could at least help Westbrook and Harden rewrite the narrative around each of their playing styles, and change their legacy for the better in the eyes of the public.