When a team with the exact same core of players that has proven to be successful in the very recent past under a certain coach stops performing up to expectations, what often happens?
The head coach gets fired, that’s what.
And that’s what is going down with the Houston Rockets, who are off to a 4-7 start and have reportedly fired head coach Kevin McHale, per a Yahoo Sports report.
McHale delivered the Rockets to the Western Conference Finals a year ago, but four straight blowout losses and a roster struggling to respond with effort pushed the organization to make a move to salvage what had been expected to be a season of championship contention.
Only 11 games into the season, the move reflects owner Leslie Alexander’s seriousness about winning within the present window with James Harden and Dwight Howard. Alexander and management, including executives Daryl Morey and Gersson Rosas, made the decision on Tuesday to replace McHale, league sources said.
McHale signed a three-year contract extension a year ago and is owed approximately $12 million.
A look at Rockets player shooting percentages this season is alarming: James Harden 37.2%, Trevor Ariza 33.6%, newly-acquired guard Ty Lawson 33.3%, Patrick Beverley 34.2%, Corey Brewer 29.9%.
Even worse, the team’s quality of play so far has actually appeared worse than their 4-7 record would suggest. The Rockets have been one of the lowest-rated squads in the league this short season both offensively and defensively per 100 possessions.
And per the Washington Post:
The symbol of Houston’s disastrous start has been Ty Lawson, a mercurial point guard the Rockets dealt for this summer after a tumultuous prior 12 months with the Denver Nuggets. Lawson – the player who organized Tuesday’s players-only meeting – has been awful thus far, averaging just 8.9 points and 5.6 assists while shooting 33.3 percent overall and 27.3 percent from three-point range. The combination of two ball-dominant guards in Lawson and James Harden, last year’s league MVP runner-up, has made for an awkward pairing.
The Rockets certainly have the roster needed to bounce back. But if it happens, it’ll be under new leadership.