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NBA Rumors: Rockets Associate Head Coach Jeff Bzdelik to Retire

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2018

Houston Rockets assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik in the first half of an NBA basketball game late Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Houston Rockets associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik, who has spent the last 40 years coaching at the collegiate or NBA level, is retiring.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Bzdelik informed the Rockets of the news.

Bzdelik, 65, was instrumental in revamping the Rockets defense over the last two seasons. Wojnarowski reported Roy Rogers will likely take an increased role with the franchise defensively.

Mike D'Antoni hired Bzdelik when he took over as head coach in 2016. A nomad who coached at all levels of NBA and college basketball, Bzdelik was the head coach for UMBC, Air Force, Colorado and Wake Forest at the collegiate level. He coached the Denver Nuggets from 2002 to 2004.

He went 162-181 as a head coach in college and 73-119 in the NBA but found his calling as an assistant. One of the league's best defensive minds, Bzdelik was a guru who helped the latter-years Grit and Grind Grizzlies before moving on to Houston. He also was a longtime assistant coach for the Washington Bullets and Miami Heat, in addition to serving as a scout for the New York Knicks.

Pat Riley and Bzdelik grew close during the latter's time as the former's assistant.

"I can't think of a man in the NBA that has more experience, more knowledge, more wisdom about how to defend in the contemporary game today, than Jeff," Riley told Michael Pina of Vice Sports.

The Rockets are not only dealing with the loss of Bzdelik but also forwards Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. Given their replacement for those players was Carmelo Anthony, odds are this Rockets defense is going to be far worse than the one that came before it. 

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