Houston Rockets' 4-7 start leads to Head Coach Kevin McHale's firing

Kevin McHale tallied a record of 193-110 in four seasons as the Houston Rockets’ Head Coach

Houston Rockets’ 4-7 slow start to the season has found its first victim in Head Coach Kevin McHale. In his absence, assistant Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff will serve as the interim Head Coach while assistant Chris Finch will be the new Associate Head Coach. NBA insider for Yahoo Sports Adrian Wojnarowski broke the surprising news via his Twitter handle:

This move comes as a huge surprise as the Rockets had extended McHale’s contract by three years just last December. Even with the Houston’s slow start, everybody believed General Manager Daryl Morey and the management had way too much faith in McHale to fire him. This mid-season firing is just the fourth in franchise history and the first since 1991-92 when Don Chaney (26-26) was replaced by Rudy Tomjanovich.

The Rockets’ job was McHale’s second after he had coached the Minnesota Timberwolves for half a season in 2004-05 and the complete season of 2008-09. It is unclear what the future holds for the 57-year-old former Celtics power forward. He did sign up with NBA TV and NBA on TNT as a game analyst between his coaching stints with the T-Wolves and the Rockets.

After losing in the Western Conference Finals last season, everyone had high hopes from the Rockets, at least from their regular season. Alas, things didn’t go as predicted and the team lost their first three games of the season to the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors and the Miami Heat by a combined point differential of 60 points. Strange for a team that finished 6th in defensive efficiency and 12th in offensive efficiency last season.

Coming off those losses a determined James Harden averaged 38.5 points, 5.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds, leading the team to four straight victories against accomplished Playoff teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers. This is when the unexpected happened- the Rockets lost their next four games against relatively weak opponents in the Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics.

Unless there was some other off-court reason to fire McHale, it’s safe to say this firing was unjust. Blaming a Head Coach for a player’s lack of effort on defense over a small sample size of 11 games is not the attitude you want in the greatest basketball league in the world.

Let’s hope interim Head Coach Bickerstaff, a defensive specialist, can instill some liveliness into the defense of this Rocket team, which is currently ranked 29th in the league.

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Edited by Staff Editor