At the closing stages of the 2015-2016 NBA season, the Houston Rockets announced the hiring of their new head coach that would take the helm from J.B. Bickerstaff, who's at the interim capacity at that time.
The team had to ferret out thoroughly in order to find the right man for the job. A lot of names from around the league popped up, but the Rockets ultimately went with a seasoned coach, who has been an NBA journeyman after various stints from different teams like the Phoenix Suns, the Knicks, The Lakers, and the Sixers.
Mike D'Antoni was tasked to turn things around for the Rockets and its most valuable player in James Harden. It was a match made in heaven - in some ways.
Offense-wise, D'Antoni and Harden Seems Highly Compatible
The pair is known for having a flair for putting the ball in the ring. D'Antoni won an NBA coach of the year award after an impressive performance from his Phoenix team. He made famous the "Seven seconds or less" offensive system.
But, his success virtually ended with the Suns as he failed to replicate it with the Knicks and the Lakers; primarily because his system needed a special type of player to help run it for him, someone like Steve Nash or James Harden.
D'Antoni reiterated that Harden will play an even bigger role under him. He would need the Rockets superstar to play as a facilitator for the team.
Harden is a proven scoring machine who can also make plays for his teammates, so it does make sense. He told reporters after the preseason game against the Pelicans in China that he's very comfortable with his new role.
The Team Needs to Find Ways to Make it Work
While they both made a living for how superb they are offensively speaking, their work on the defensive end is middling, to say the least. They put a premium on scoring so much that they have been slammed for almost forgetting that the sport is played two-ways.
The Rockets were owners of the worst defense last season and that is why it just doesn't stand to reason why the team hired someone like D'Antoni. GM Daryl Morey's solution is to hire defensive specialists as assistant coaches.
And then, there will always be the question of whether the two can actually co-exist with one another. For one, D'Antoni has had a history of not getting along with his teams' superstars.
It's actually exciting to know how all these would pan out. The Rockets fans can't wait for the new season to kick off.
Bobby Brown in Hot Water After Writing on the Great Wall
Meanwhile, Harden's teammate Bobby Brown found himself in a tight spot after he was criticized for writing his name and jersey number on the world heritage site. The Rockets player, who is part of the team's preseason roster and out to make the cut, later apologized for the gaffe.
Brown posted an image of the writing on the Chinese social media platform called Weibo. He wrote, "had a blast at the Great Wall of China today" as the caption. Netizens were quick to point out the mistake and criticize the player.