In news that has us shaking our heads, the Houston Rockets have agreed to hire Kevin McHale as their new head coach. So the Rockets have gone from Rick Adelman – a respected tactician who has gotten an incredible amount out of his players – to a guy with a career 39-55 coaching record who was also a horrible general manager.
With the Minnesota Timberwolves McHale had two stints as interim coach, going 19-12 after taking over for Flip Saunders during the 2004-05 season, and posting a 20-43 mark after replacing Randy Wittman during the 2008-09 season.
He’s also Minnesota’s Vice President of Basketball Operations from 1995 until 2008. In those 13 years the Timberwolves remained awful and McHale repeatedly made terrible moves, including trading Kevin Garnett and receiving less than equal value from the Celtics. And no, Al Jefferson does not count as a high value asset.
To us McHale seems like a decent fellow but he has a track record of making some horrible basketball decisions. Yes, he had terrible rosters in Minnesota, but as the team’s VP he didn’t do a whole lot to improve them He’s well liked around the league, but likable guys don’t always make the best coaches.
The Rockets had listed Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank and Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey as finalists for the job along with McHale. With thing either of those guys would have been a better choice.
It’s just a head-scratcher of a move really. If the Rockets surround McHale with a group of great assistants this might work, but that’s a big if.