Kevin McHale didn’t begin this process as the front-runner to be the Rockets’ next head coach. The Rockets set out to hire Lawrence Frank or someone a lot like Lawrence Frank. In other words, a head coach very much like Jeff Van Gundy. Since Leslie Alexander and Daryl Morey made head coaching experience a must and since McHale has just 94 games of experience and a losing record, he barely met the basic criteria. Yet as the process played out, they became more impressed by the day. For instance, the Rockets believe he’ll be:
• A great leader and someone a lockerroom and an entire organization can rally around. Every player who played for him said (a) he got better under McHale and (b) was treated with respect.
• Great at player development, especially at working with the bigs (Thabeet, Patterson, Hill). Helping the players get better might be Job One for the new coach.