Houston Rockets: Top Candidates for Post-Rick Adelman Era
Let the name-dropping begin for possible replacements.
Who replaces Adelman is probably the toughest decision Daryl Morey has ever had to make. It is also his most important decision to date.
With a good pick he can create a sense of consistency and solidify the locker room for the years to come.
With a bad pick he can cause this team to spiral and never develop into a championship contender.
This list is in no particular order.
Stan Van Gundy
Stan Van Gundy is the top candidate for the Rockets coaching job.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
To be clear, there is no indication of the Magic wanting to part ways with their coach; but not many would be surprised if they did. They are looking to start over. Their midseason trade was an experiment gone wrong and they are looking to turn over a new leaf. Getting rid of Van Gundy might be step one in that process after the playoffs are over.
As coach of the Magic he saw three Eastern Conference finals and an NBA Finals appearance. He has seen much success, so it is no wonder why the Rockets would pursue him.
Budenholzer has been under Grep Popovich for the past 17 years.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
I am not too sure how much interest there is from Daryl Morey on this one, but I really like this pick. He has been with Gregg Popovich ever since the beginning of the 1994-95 season. He has seen the rise of the San Antonio Spurs into perennial title contenders.
You would hope he picked up a thing or two with all that time learning from Popovich. Also, a guy with that experience and winning attitude can give this team the leadership it will need.
Also, he is a very big reason why the Spurs have such a tough, lockdown defensive makeup.
Turner has been under Adelman for a long time
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Elston Turner has been a candidate for many coaching positions over the past few years. In 2008 he was a candidate for the Phoenix Suns vacancy, the next year he was a finalist for the Minnesota Timberwolves job and the following year he was a finalist for the Philadelphia 76ers job and the Chicago Bulls job.
He has served many years as an assistant to Adelman and has been due for a head-coaching gig for a while.
This pick would seem to smooth the transition for the current roster to not lose a step but if Morey and Les Alexander are wanting to change things up, he will not be the choice.
Many fans will remember Mario Elie from his playing days in Houston
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Mario Elie is known in Houston as a clutch shooter and is a fan favorite. He is best known for the three-pointer he hit against the Phoenix Suns to send the Rockets to the 1995 Western Conference finals. There is no doubt he was a key player in winning both titles for Houston back in the 1990s.
I am a fan of Mario Elie but I am not sure if he is the guy to lead a team to a deep playoff run. I would like to see Houston go after a guy with more experience.
Jeff Van Gundy
An interesting but unlikely choice for Houston, Jeff Van Gundy was the coach in Houston before Adelman.
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images
The Rockets saw some success under Jeff Van Gundy in the four seasons he was coach. He is known for his defensive basketball mind and for his boring style of play on the offensive end.
This would be a big change of gears for Houston to go with Jeff. Much like it was a change when the team went with Adelman after Jeff left.
Jeff has the desire to coach, or at least he has stated he does. The problem is that Jeff was fired by Houston not too long ago. I would not be surprised if Houston burnt that bridge a long time ago.
On top of that, I doubt that Jeff's style of ball would be too compatible with Morey's plans for the future.
Coached LeBron Jame in Clevland and got them to an NBA Finals appearence.
Mike Brown won NBA Coach of the Year honors for leading the Cleveland LeBron Jameses, now known as the Cleveland Cavaliers, to 66 wins in 2009. But he was ultimately fired for not being able to get a title and an early-round exit to the Boston Celtics in the conference semifinals. This Cavaliers team won 60-plus games for two consecutive seasons and failed to make the NBA Finals both times—the first time in NBA history for this to happen.
He has been described as a "top candidate" according to the Houston Chronicle.
But he did get his team to play excellent defense, as he came to Cleveland after being an assistant for Gregg Popovich.
I feel Mike Brown might have suffered from a lack of depth around LeBron James in Cleveland. That team without LeBron James was the laughingstock of the NBA all year.
It would be interesting to see what he can do with some talent depth that Houston will have next season.