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Assessing the Houston Rockets Coaching Staff for 2020-21

| December 10, 2020 11:39 am PDT
Houston Rockets Coaching Staff Analysis for the 2020-21 NBA Season

A new era of basketball arrives in Houston for the 2020-21 NBA season. In just about every way, too.

The jury is still out on James Harden’s future with the franchise as I put fingers to keyboard, but the writing seems to be on the wall. The team is under new guidance in the front office, Mike D’Antoni is gone, and Russell Westbrook has already been traded.

Is Stephen Silas the man for the job? Will it even matter if Harden gets his wish and forces his way out of town?

The former is all we can really concern ourselves with as basketball fans and bettors, especially if Harden does get traded. Here’s a breakdown of the Houston Rockets’ 2020-21 coaching staff to gauge if this group can lead this team to a quality year.

Stephen Silas – Head Coach

Silas is probably best known for being the son of former NBA player and coach Paul Silas. Silas was a respectable player for many years in the NBA and was the face of the Charlotte Hornets during four playoff runs.

His son has yet to truly carve out his own spot in The Association, but he’s actually been around the game for years. Silas’ first stop was understandably with his dad in Charlotte, but he’s since put in time as a scout and an assistant in Washington, Golden State, and most recently Dallas.

Silas had a hand in the Mavs churning out the most efficient offense in the league a year ago, while he also was crucial to a major leap from superstar Luka Doncic.

The latter has not been quiet about the departure of Silas being a big deal, either, as he credited him for much of his progress last season.

Doncic is far from the only star Silas has helped mold, either.

His body of work is very interesting thus far, and pairing his style and ability to develop with someone as talented as Harden (should he stick around) is borderline mouth-watering.

Whether Harden stays and whether Silas can hack it as the coach on the sidelines, of course, remains to be seen.

Houston Rockets’ Assistant Coaches

Silas is a very bright offensive mind, and he alone is such a strong replacement for the departing D’Antoni.

Safe? No, but the upside is clear, and Houston should be in good shape with or without Harden if Silas can pan out as the main decision-maker.

Fortunately, Rockets fans don’t have to just hitch the wagon to one guy. Silas has formed a very good coaching staff, headed by big names such as Jeff Hornacek and John Lucas.

Here’s the full band of assistants for the Rockets and some quick details about each coach.

John Lucas

Lucas is a pretty big name. Once the first overall pick in the 1976 NBA Draft, he went on to have a respectable career as a balanced point guard.

His headsy play on the court translated to the sidelines, as he’s had multiple head coaching stints and has experience specifically in development.

Jeff Hornacek

Best known for his playing days with the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz, Hornacek was a three-point marksman and a lock at the free-throw line. His efficient play helped his teams reach two NBA Finals, and he went on to coach the Suns and the Knicks.

Hornaceck didn’t find much success as the main man on the sidelines, but the 57-year old has been around the game at a professional level since 1986 and has been coaching since 2011.

Will Weaver

A rising assistant coach prospect, Weaver got his coaching career started with the Texas Longhorns in 2006, where he spent four seasons before latching on with Sam Houston State. Weaver then graduated to the NBA, where he learned under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio.

Weaver would eventually get a gig as head coach of the Long Island Nets in the G-League, who he led to a conference finals appearance in his only season on the job. Weaver then headed to the NBL, where he led the Sydney Kings to the grand final series before joining Silas’ staff in Houston.

Rick Higgins

Higgins is another All-Star addition in terms of player development, and he comes over from Orlando. He’s also been an NBA regular with the previous eight years spent with the Hornets.

Higgins has had NBA blood coursing through his veins his entire career. The son of former NBA player and GM Rod Higgins, Higgins knows basketball as well as anyone and, at just 33, is a rising assistant.

DeSagana Diop

Diop is best known for being a brute center for the Dallas Mavericks. The 38-year old Senegal native enjoyed a 14-year career where he brought energy and a defensive presence to the table.

While Diop wasn’t a superstar on the court, he brought his tenacity to the coaching scene, where he worked on development with the G-League’s Texas Legends before working as a coaching associate the past four years with the Utah Jazz.


The Houston Rockets’ 2020-21 coaching staff is loaded with upside. Stephen Silas isn’t as experienced as someone like Mike D’Antoni, and he has to prove his system will work with a new team, but the talent, work ethic, drive, and player connection is there.

Silas is already being tested in his first days with the Rockets. Russell Westbrook was traded, Houston made some big free agency moves, and it’s still unclear what will happen with Harden.

But Silas is a bright coach with the pedigree and temperament to succeed.

He’s also surrounded himself with an excellent staff. He gets amazing experience and advice from guys like Hornaceck and Lucas, while younger options like Diop, Higgins, and Weaver promise to help develop talent, cultivate the culture this team is looking for, and push new initiatives on the hardwood.

There are still unanswered questions with this coaching staff, but by all accounts, the Rockets appear to be in very good hands.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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