D’Antoni’s hiring all but ensures Dwight Howard will be somewhere else next season, as the Rockets’ big man repeatedly clashed with the 65-year-old coach when they were paired up on the Los Angeles Lakers. That may actually be a positive for the Rockets, since Howard has been steadily declining in recent years and has had his issues with Houston’s star, James Harden.
This will be the fifth stop as a head coach in D’Antoni’s career. He had 50 games as the head man for the Denver Nuggets during the 1998-99 season, then spent six seasons on the bench for the Phoenix Suns, four with the New York Knicks and almost two full seasons with the Lakers.
D’Antoni led the Suns to two Western Conference Finals berths but carries a disappointing lifetime record of 455-426 (.516). In 12 NBA seasons his teams have missed the postseason six times and been eliminated in the first round three times. Other than the fact that he’s the only coach in the solar system who will be satisfied with Harden’s stellar defensive effort, what could the Rockets have possibly seen in him?
D’Antoni is an offense-only coach whose teams can never make critical stops on the defensive end, which makes winning big games nearly impossible. That’s not how you build a champion. Since leaving Phoenix, his squads have also posted a dismal record of 188-254 (.425).
The Rockets hiring D’Antoni shows, yet again, the NBA loves retreads and most basketball general managers have absolutely no vision for the future of the game.
No one on the planet believes D’Antoni can lead the Rockets to a championship, which means it is a completely wasted hire.