Thursday, February 13, 2014
Kevin Mchale has the Rockets right where they want to be
Kevin Mchale is Celtics royalty. Mchale won three NBA Championships with Boston, and perhaps helped the C's with a 4th in 2007 when he agreed to trade Kevin Garnett to Boston. For over a decade Mchale ran Minnesota from an office. Kevin said for years that he didn't want to coach, and when he did take over for Flip Saunders in 2005. It was with mixed results. Kevin replaced Flip in the Wolves final 31 games, and they finished with a 19-12 record with Mchale coaching.
Mchale didn't last long on the sideline, he stepped down to resume GM duties, and hired Dwane Casey to coach the Wolves. After Casey had a losing record of 52-69 in his short stint. Mchale handed the keys over to Randy Wittman, who didn't do much better, with a 38-105 record. After Mchale fired Wittman during the 08-09 season, Mchale stepped in once again to finish the season. The 08-09 season would be the last year of Mchale in Minnesota.
Mchale was the most succeful General Manager in team history, and the franchise hasn't reached the playoffs since the 2003-04 season. After a couple of years behind a desk in a television studio. The former player who didn't want to coach. Took a head coaching job with the Houston Rockets in 2011. In Mchale's second season as coach, he led the Rockets into the playoffs, and the team was moving on nicely.
Over the summer, Mchale and the Rockets landed the most sought-after player in the 2013 free agent class. With the pick up, Houston would take in Howard, and all of the drama that followed him. The drama has faded away this season, and Howard has become somewhat normal again.
Howard is averaging 18.3 points per game, along with 12.9 rebounds per game. Howard is paired with another star in Harden. With the Rockets, Howard is able to be his corky self. He doesn't have Kobe calling him out, and the pressure isn't on his shoulders like it was in Orlando. Plus lets not forget that Mchale has become a real solid coach.
The Rockets head into the break with a 7 game winning streak, and winners of 10 of their last 12 games. Houston is now in third place out West, and two games behind the Spurs, who are fading due to injuries. The Rockets are 36-17, and seem to be rolling along nicely. Mchale has become a better coach then some may have expected, because he was a General Manager who didn't want to coach. Kevin has an opportunity to win a title at some point in Houston, and I wouldn't be shocked if it was this year.