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Rockets reportedly looking for strong defensive coach as assistant

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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, a formal 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 appears that will factor into the coaching search, as well.

Longtime Houston Chronicle beat writer Jonathan Feigen elaborated in a conversation with Salman Ali on the Red Nation Hoops podcast:

Stephen (Silas) is extremely well liked and respected around the league. He’s got a ton of connections. People would like to work for him. …

I think they’re going to definitely try and add a guy who has some defensive coaching chops. Not necessarily running the defense, but a creative mind with a lot to offer as a guy that will help work with the defense.

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

He’s looking for a defensive… I don’t want to say specialist, but a really strong defensive coach. That’s where they’re going with the main one.

Feigen, who said he anticipates Abdelfattah being one of the three hires, did offer one caveat when it comes to Silas’ ongoing search.

“There is a lot of uncertainty,” Feigen said of Houston’s situation. “When you’re joining a team that’s 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 — coaches have to consider that. But, he’s got connections like crazy, and he’s really well liked and highly thought of. That’s the one thing I’ve heard from people outside the organization.”

The new assistant coaching hires will join John Lucas (lead assistant) and Rick Higgins, who are still in place from Silas’ 2021-22 staff.


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 coaching candidate for Rockets

G League’s Mahmoud Abdelfattah emerges as strong assistant coaching candidate for Rockets

Jeff Hornacek, Will Weaver not returning to Rockets coaching staff


Where did the Houston Rockets rank statistically in the 2021-22 regular season?