Rockets reportedly looking for strong defensive coach as assistant

With three assistant coaches in Jeff Hornacek, Will Weaver and DeSagana Diop not returning to the Houston Rockets staff for the 2022-23 season, head coach Stephen Silas likely has three vacancies to fill.

While some names have been rumored, including G League affiliate coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah and longtime NBA assistant Melvin Hunt, an official hire has yet to be made. But Silas has made it clear that defense is a priority this offseason after Houston’s league-worst finish in 2021-22, and it looks like that will factor into the coaching search as well.

Longtime Houston Chronicle writer Jonathan Feigen explained in a chat with Salman Ali on the Red Nation Hoops podcast:

Stephen (Silas) is hugely popular and respected in the league. He has a ton of connections. People would like to work for him. …

I think they will definitely try to add a guy who has defensive coaching skills. Not necessarily the head of defense, but a creative mind with a lot to offer as a guy who will help work defense.

I don’t think that’s quite Jeff Bzdelik’s defensive coordinator (role) – I know they didn’t call him that, but “you run the show on defense” – that’s not it.

He is looking for a defensive… I don’t mean a specialist, but a very good defensive coach. This is where they go with the principal.

Feigen, who said he expected Abdelfattah to be one of three recruits, cautioned about the ongoing search for Silas.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty,” Feigen said of Houston’s situation. “When you join a team that has had the worst record in the league, twice in a row, and the coach has two years left on his contract – only one fully guaranteed – the coaches have to take that into account. But, he has relationships like crazy, and he’s really well-liked and well-liked, and that’s the only thing I’ve heard from people outside of the organization.

The new assistant coaching signings will join John Lucas (senior assistant) and Rick Higgins, who are still in place on the 2021-22 Silas staff.

Related

Stephen Silas wants expanded playbook, better defense in 2022-23

DeSagana Diop reportedly set to leave Rockets coaching staff

Report: Melvin Hunt emerges as assistant coach candidate for Rockets

Mahmoud Abdelfattah of the G League emerges as a strong assistant coach candidate for the Rockets

Jeff Hornacek and Will Weaver won’t return to Rockets coaching staff

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