The Rockets are weighing the future of head coach Stephen Silas, sources with knowledge of the situation tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Fischer suggests Silas could become the next NBA head coach on the hot seat following Luke Walton‘s dismissal earlier this week.
Fischer’s report comes with a handful of caveats. Unlike Walton’s Kings, there were no playoff expectations for Silas’ Rockets this season. Additionally, staffers in Houston aren’t “waiting for this shoe drop” in the same way that team personnel in Sacramento were anticipating Walton’s exit. Still, Fischer says whispers have grown louder as of late about Silas’ job security — he has just one more year left on his contract after the 2021/22 season.
Silas’ primary goal for a Houston team without real playoff aspirations has been developing young players like Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. Those youngsters have gotten off to slow starts in 2021/22, and Fischer says rival coaches characterize the team’s offense as “disorganized and undisciplined.”
The 1-16 Rockets have the NBA’s worst offensive rating, worst assist-to-turnover ratio, and highest turnover rate. Of course, those numbers may be more the byproduct of the young, inexperienced roster than of Silas’ coaching.
As Fischer points out, Houston didn’t initially hire Silas expecting him to oversee a full-fledged rebuild, but the team has gone in that direction over the last 12 months, opting to pass on promising young players in favor of future draft picks in January’s James Harden blockbuster. Some people around the league believe Silas has been put in an impossible position.
“(Silas) is genuinely one of the nicest people in the NBA. He actually cares about people,” one assistant general manager told Fischer. “To put him with a bunch of really young dudes who probably don’t care about anything but their numbers and playing time, he’s just not the right fit.”
Another Western Conference executive who spoke to Bleacher Report wondered what exactly Silas was supposed to do with this year’s roster.
Although there’s no indication that any head coaching change is imminent, Fischer hears from multiple sources that veteran assistant John Lucas II, who has a strong relationship with general manager Rafael Stone, would be the likely interim replacement if Silas is let go during the season.
According to Fischer, Stone is more hands-on than the average NBA general manager, having walked onto Houston’s practice court at one point to preach defensive philosophy. If he were to make a coaching change, the GM would likely want to continue to have the same level of input into on-court tactics and decisions that he does now.