LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 30: Head coach Mike D’Antoni of the Los Angeles Lakers gestures during the game with the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center on March 30, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

It appears that the Houston Rockets made the right decision in bringing in Mike D’Antoni as head coach. The Rockets are currently 44-19 on the season and, to some, D’Antoni is the clubhouse leader for coach of the year. Houston’s success is probably a surprise to many as numerous people panned the hire when it was announced in early June. Coming off back-to-back underwhelming stints with the Lakers and the Knicks, D’Antoni didn’t seem like the logical choice…

In his Houston Chronicle column titled “Rockets out of tune with Mike D’Antoni coaching hire,” Brian T. Smith wrote…

“The Rockets will tell you they intentionally took their sweet, deliberate time making a decision that will affect them for years. But you’re smarter than that. D’Antoni was waiting there all along. And you know there’s a reason 29 other teams had coaches Thursday morning while no one else was craving the man to whom the Rockets decided to hand shoot-first Harden.
(D)’Antoni, meet Har(d)en. Have fun.”

“But [Rockets owner Les] Alexander did what he’s always done since the last golden ball arrived in Houston. He went with the big, splashy name. He refused to build slow, overlooked the long-term play, and simply bought the most expensive thing.”

“Which is fine if D’Antoni, 65, somehow magically resurrects his career and does in the fourth-largest city in the country what he failed to do in Los Angeles and New York. But that currently feels as reasonable as Harden’s making the all-defensive team.”

In a piece titled “5 reasons why the Houston Rockets should not hire Mike D’Antoni,” Philip Rossman-Reich of FanSided failed to see the fit…

“Harden has the driving and efficiency things down that D’Antoni’s offense calls for. But he does not quite have the pace. And the Rockets offense for the last few years devolved into standing around watching Harden dribble.

Could D’Antoni really change that for the better?”

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith surprisingly had a strong opinion on the news, as he also also criticized the hire

“And you hire Mike D’Antoni? The guy who Skip Bayless says should have the ‘D’ omitted from his name because it’s really ‘Mike Antoni’? Because there’s really no such thing as defense when he’s coaching. It just amazes me.”

Somehow, some way, this man continues to land good job after good job after good job. I find it amazing. I’ll tell you this: If I want a salesman, I definitely hire him because whatever he’s selling, somehow, some way, folks continue to buy. I give him credit for that.”

The D’Antoni was largely unpopular with Rockets fans as well.  However, it didn’t take long for some of them start coming around…

For all of his deficiencies and failed tenures, D’Antoni has been successful so far. The Rockets are contenders in the West, and while it remains to be seen whether he can lead Houston to a title, D’Antoni has not been the disaster that most thought. A pleasant surprise in Houston.

About Liam McGuire

Social +Staff writer for The Comeback & Awful Announcing. Liammcguirejournalism@gmail.com