The likes of Ime Udoka, Frank Vogel, and Kenny Atkinson are some of the names that need to be observed for the potential Houston Rockets’ head coaching candidacy next season, ESPN 97.5 Houston insider John Granato revealed in his recent hosting of The Bench with Lance Zierlein.
Both Granato and Zierlein discussed the lack of a disciplinarian approach and defensive emphasis by current Rockets head coach Stephen Silas, and the insider went on to note that the trio has been drawing chatters within and outside of the franchise that may likely take over.
“There are candidates out there. … Frank Vogel is the name [to be watched on]. Frank Vogel is a hell of a coach, has pelts, is a guy who is going to expect and have guys be accountable. Ime Udoka is going to be like that too. … Kenny Atkinson is a name that you should look at. He got Rockets ties and he’s a Golden State guy right now, he’s under Steve Kerr as an assistant. … These are some names that, the whispers that I’m hearing inside and out of place in the organization,” Granato detailed.
Silas has been occupying Houston’s top strategic helm since 2020. Under his watch, the club is yet to achieve greater heights, as they tallied the lowest record for the past two years (24% win rate). They are also bound to end the 2022-23 regular season as one of the worst teams yet again with a 19-60 record.
For the last three years, Houston managed to compile a boatload of future picks and promising young talents like Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun and Jabari Smith Jr.. Should they oust Silas for the given absence of progression, the franchise can certainly use these key assets and went on to hire one of the notable free-agent coaches mentioned in order to be back in relevance.
Amid controversial given his past workplace misconduct of having an improper relationship with a female staffer, Udoka proved himself as a solid head coach in his lone season for the Boston Celtics. His hard-nosed approach and defense tactics empowered the C’s turnaround last year en route to an NBA Finals finish.
Meanwhile, Vogel has already established himself as one of the best minds in the NBA with his calm demeanor and defensive strategies. Despite the disastrous 2021-22 campaign he had with the Los Angeles Lakers, he will still be remembered on leading the franchise towards its 17th title.
And lastly, the Warriors assistant in Atkinson is widely praised for being a great development head coach, as plenty of teams expressed interest to acquire him last offseason.
A probable future coaching change at the Houston huddle will truly signal the franchise’s desire to end its rebuilding process and deliver a step-up, as one star swingman in the Eastern Conference being rumored as their target to acquire.