Jeff Bzdelik Rumors
D’Antoni, whose offense was second only to the Warriors last season, has entrusted that end of the floor to assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik since last season. But Paul’s view, on that topic and many more, is being heard. “He’s seeing things where we can get better, what we need to do,” D’Antoni said. “A lot of (his feedback) is personnel driven. He knows the league really well, and what works with guys. We talk about plays. We talk about everything. It’s more or less, well ‘We can definitely do this,’ so you file that away. Or ‘we can do that,’ or ‘we need to pick our pace up, and to be able to do that then we can do this…’ We just more or less talk.”
Ariza says Bzdelik is emphasizing, in Belichick-ian fashion, that everyone just do their job. “Everybody being on a string, everybody being there for one another, to help one another,” Ariza said. “’Cause when you do that, you just go hard doing those things, when one person is not doing it, they’re going to stick out. That’s what we’re trying to eliminate.”
Bzdelik, though, is somewhat limited — both by the personnel he has in Houston, and by the calendar. Once the season starts there are very few days for full-blown practices; starters need to rest from the games the night before or the next day, and no one is completely healthy. “Defense has to be done every day,” Bzdelik said, “either through film, or walking through, or active, live drills.” There are some pieces. Houston’s best shot at improving on its meh defensive numbers last season will come when Pat Beverley, one of the league’s best on-ball irritants, returns from arthroscopic knee surgery in a week or so. That will also allow D’Antoni to return Gordon to a sixth man role and lengthen the bench.
D’Antoni will largely hand the defense over to Jeff Bzdelik who brings an outstanding reputation around the league. More important than what other coaches think of Bzdelik, several Rockets players heard from friends with the Grizzlies praising Bzdelik when the Rockets hired him. Harden seems determined to change his reputation and despite the vines and gifs, he did show his defensive ability in 2014-15 when he was much more reliably engaged and focused on that end of the floor than last season.
The selection of Mike D’Antoni as Rockets coach will not have to win the approval of guard James Harden. Harden, who had been kept abreast throughout the coaching search, endorsed the pick in an appearance as the first guest of teammate Jason Terry’s radio show. “I’m excited,” Harden said on Sirius XM on Wednesday. “I’m excited about the opportunity. I’ve been hearing great things about him, what he brings to our team. Obviously, our assistant coaches (Jeff Bzdelik and Roy Rogers) as well. A new beginning and I’m excited about the opportunity.