When Kevin McHale's name first surfaced in the Rockets' coaching search, I reacted in the same way I did when Sam Cassell's name came up. I just kind of laughed and thought "why are they so intent on making people believe that they are casting a wide net. It's going to be Dwane Casey, so let's just get this thing over with," I muttered to myself.
It turns out, McHale is the guy, despite the fact that he previously stated it wasn't in the cards for him to be a career coach. That quote doesn't bother me (much), but what does bother me is that it doesn't matter who the coach is if Daryl Morey can't work some magic and get this roster in shape for a real playoff run.
Rick Adelman, one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time, did about as much with this Rockets roster as could possibly be expected of him. Had there been a superstar on the team, or even a couple of guys who weren't quite superstars but approaching that level - things would have gone differently. You may have preferred Dwane Casey, Lawrence Frank, McHale, or any other name to come in and be the Rockets' coach, but none of them are going to accomplish much more than a mediocre record with Luis Scola and Kevin Martin as the team's leading scorers, oh and of course - that defense.
Kevin McHale is revered by his peers for his basketball IQ, communications skills, and demanding nature. He's never coached a full season in the NBA, in the past only taking over coaching duties after someone was dumped in-season. Once after the Minnesota Timberwolves canned Flip Saunders in 2005, and again in 2008 after Randy Wittman was sent packing.
There will be a lot of criticism and focus on Kevin McHale in the upcoming NBA offseason, but the real object of scrutiny should be on Morey, who has quite the daunting task ahead of him. Get a great player, by hook or by crook. Or get some nearly-great players (GET A GREAT PLAYER!). Then forge a roster that can succeed beyond a low playoff seed, all while being led by McHale, who many feel isn't up to the task.
Your move, Daryl. Perhaps a lockout-extended offseason is just what you need to make it all work.