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Rockets Make Jeff Van Gundy Top Target

Jeff Van Gundy tops the list of potential candidates for the Rockets head coaching job, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Mannix of The Vertical. Still, it’s not entirely clear whether Houston will have an opening, since interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff remains in place as the Rockets compete in the first round of the playoffs against the Warriors. The team won’t begin its search until it’s finished with the playoffs, according to Wojnarowski and Mannix. Bickerstaff reportedly enhanced his chances of keeping the job significantly when he guided the Rockets into the playoffs. The team is also interested in Scott Brooks and Tom Thibodeau, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported previously.

Van Gundy lives in Houston, as Wojnarowski and Mannix point out. He coached the Rockets from 2003-2007 before he and the team parted ways at the end of the 2006/07 season. The job was his last as an NBA head coach, but he’s remained a prominent candidate for openings around the league. He’s reportedly scheduled to interview for the Timberwolves vacancy today and, along with Thibodeau, is one of two front-runners for that gig. The Nets apparently had interest as well before they hired Kenny Atkinson.

Thibodeau appears keener than Van Gundy is on the idea of the coach/executive role that Minnesota is considering, as Wojnarowski and Mannix detail, while the Wizards are reportedly the favorites to land Scott Brooks, so it makes sense that Van Gundy has taken the lead for Houston. The heavily favored Warriors blew out the Rockets in Game 1 of their series on Saturday, and Houston’s season could end as early as Sunday in the event of a sweep.

The failure to advance past the first round was perhaps Van Gundy’s chief shortcoming when he was coach of the Rockets. The team made the playoffs in three of his four seasons but never won a series. He finished 182-146 in the regular season and 7-12 in the postseason with Houston.

Would Van Gundy be the right choice for the Rockets? Leave a comment to have your say.

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6 thoughts on “Rockets Make Jeff Van Gundy Top Target

  1. Arthur Hill

    Van Gundy’s style during his first stint in Houston was the exact opposite of what the Rockets do now. He slowed the game down, emphasized defense and tried to work the ball into the low post. It wasn’t a good system for Tracy McGrady and it won’t work for James Harden or Kevin Durant, if he decides to go to Houston. Either Rockets management or Van Gundy would have to commit to a completely different philosophy for the arrangement to work.

    • Jake Bullis

      That being said do you think Rockets should look for a new identity or different coach? If different coach, who do you think would be a good fit?

      • bowserhound

        Scott Brooks would be best suited for an up-tempo offense and James Harden. Just my 2 cents.

      • Arthur Hill

        The organization seems fully committed to its approach on offense — 3-pointers and layups, very little midrange game. They tinkered with the system with their D-League affiliate before they implemented it fully in Houston. I don’t know if there is an established coach who would be comfortable with running it. They may wind up promoting Chris Finch and letting him oversee a much-needed rebuilding effort.

        • victor

          I just think no matter who you get as the coach .. until you get a alpha leader on the team .. they are going nowhere .. harden is not a team leader he may be the best player on the team but he is basically Carmelo Anthony I know he gets 10 plus all the time but I mean the turnovers are insane and those don’t even account for all the bad passes he makes were the ball does not get turned over but still puts the rox in bad spots all the time. I know that you could never get “value” for james but if I was morey I would think long and hard about maybe trading james and letting howard walk .. either that or you have to bring in pure shooters around him .. brewer Beverly ariza tjones smith all hurt the team a lot when they go cold often.. and harden does not play well off the ball .. which is why they should of targeted someone like LIN instead of lawson

  2. I don’t root for Houston but I’d say, Bickerstaff given the chance could turn out to be a top notch coach with a little tweak here and there. Van Gundy’s doing a great job along with Jackson. If anyone was to leave I would think it would be Jackson, but I hope not.

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