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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Houston Rockets are hiring former Dallas Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas, son of longtime NBA head coach Paul Silas, as their next head coach. He has a few offensive tricks up his sleeve, but Silas will still be a tough sell to James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Hiring Silas for his “offensive ingenuity” sounds a lot like their reason for hiring Mike D’Antoni back in 2016. His track record of developing stars like Luka Doncic and Stephen Curry gives Houston reason to believe he can help mesh the James Harden-Russell Westbrook duo.
Silas began his career as an assistant under Dave Cowens in 1999, but he’s never managed to secure a head coaching job until now. Commissioner Adam Silver recently criticized the Rooney Rule that encourages NBA teams to hire minority coaches. Rising in the ranks among assistant coaches is a more natural way to acquire a big-time job. Silver is probably relieved.
This hiring is reminiscent of current Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, who coached the LeBron-Wade-Bosh trio after his stint as video coordinator in 1995. His development began before he was ever given a top job in the league. The Rockets are hoping that Silas will become Spoelstra part two.
Can he lead Harden or Russ?
If a coach like Mike D’Antoni can’t get the best out of the Rockets stars Harden and Westbrook, then who can? This duo will eventually have to pull their own sled if they want to get over the hump. A head coach, no matter how much experience he has, can’t do it for them.
If Silas can establish strong habits that hold his best players accountable, then the Rockets will be in great shape under his leadership. D’Antoni was often ridiculed for not holding star athletes to high standards. We’ll learn early whether Silas takes a different approach.
The Rockets’ new GM Rafael Stone, hired to replace Daryl Morey who left abruptly earlier this month, has finally found his guy. We’ll find out very quickly if Silas is the right move.