Wednesday 24th July 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Rockets Fire Kevin McHale, Name J.B. Bickerstaff Interim Head Coach

Kevin McHale
After a 4-7 start to the 2015-16 regular season, the Houston Rockets have decided to fire Kevin McHale.

Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowsi broke the news:

As usual, no permanent replacement has been named. J.B. Bickerstaff will assume control of the team in the meantime:

The timing of this decision is weird. The Rockets extended Kevin McHale’s contract about a year ago, and Houston is coming off a Western Conference Finals appearances. They’re off to a horrid start, checking in the bottom seven of offensive and defensive efficiency, per Basketball-Reference, but it’s difficult to blame Kevin McHale for their transgressions.

This reeks more of desperation than anything, and Wojnarowski basically said as much:

If McHale lost the players’ ear, that’s mostly on the players. McHale spewed Byron Scott-isms from time to time, but for a clearly old-school guy, he always seemed open to tailoring his offense to analytics-friendly standards. The Rockets still chuck loads of threes, and they still run the floor. That they’re missing shots, failing to get set on defense and suffering from an abundance of injuries isn’t necessarily on McHale.

Which means general manager Daryl Morey and the Rockets are fostering change for the sake of fostering change. Sometimes, that works. Kevin McHale’s departure, if nothing else, sends a message to the players that the team isn’t only expecting more, but it’s expecting more now, and anything less won’t be tolerated.

It’s just a damn shame that said message is coming at the expense of Kevin McHale, who, in reality, should not be atop the totem pole of Houston’s scapegoats.

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