Longtime Houston Rockets fans, those who were old enough to remember the classic 1980’s, can’t help but feel a bit betrayed by the choice of new coach Kevin McHale. After all, if it wasn’t for McHale, the Rockets might have won their first NBA championship 8 years earlier. In the 1986 NBA Finals, McHale averaged 25.8 points, hitting over 57% of his shots, to go with 8.5 boards and 2.5 blocks in leading Boston to a 4-2 series win over Houston.
That magical ’86 run cemented my love for the Rockets, and McHale was the twisting, turning, pump-faking, long-armed freakish devil that ended the show. That’s not just forgotten. So while I see many positives with this hire — positives I’ll write about tomorrow — it’s the little kid Rocket fan in me that thinks it’s treason, possibly surpassing the brutal Knickification of the Rockets in 2003 when the franchise introduced Jeff Van Gundy, Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley and Mark Jackson over a 6-month span (followed by Charlie Ward and Rod Strickland the next season).
So that made me wonder — what if McHale had done his damage in a Rockets uniform? If he came in with a Rudy Tomjanovich resume, having sported red rather than green, would this move have drawn more applause from the Houston faithful? So to Photoshop I went:
Feel any different?