Houston Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni has made a living from coaching basketball primarily from the offensive end, encouraging fast-paced play on every team he's coached, from the Phoenix Suns to the current Rockets. His schemes have worked well thus far, winning him two Coach of the Year awards in 2005 and 2017. But how does he plan to defeat the Golden State Warriors when they face the Rockets this Thursday for a preseason matchup?
"You're not gonna stop them. It's just not gonna happen," D'Antoni said, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN. "They're not gonna stop us either. Should be fun."
It's a hard task to stop the Warriors when you're a defensive-minded team, let alone a team run by D'Antoni, so he's not lying there. But Mike may have a point when he says Golden State won't be able to stop the Rockets either.
Houston last season was almost unstoppable on the offensive end. Lead by James Harden, who D'Antoni slotted in at the point guard position, much to the dismay and confusion of many basketball pundits, the Rockets finished 3rd in the West with a 55-27 record. Harden had a career year, finishing with averages of 29.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 11.2 assists, leading the league. The move to point paid off for D'Antoni and Harden, and even though the Beard didn't win MVP -- falling to former teammate Russell Westbrook, who averaged a triple-double across the entire season -- Mike's first season as Rockets coach was considered a success.
If you thought Houston peaked last season, you could very well be wrong, as they managed to snag 9-time All-Star Chris Paul from the Clippers, forming a very formidable duo in the backcourt. With Houston's 'Morey-ball' strategy seeming the way of the future for the NBA -- taking highly efficient three-pointers and layups at the rim, ignoring the mid-range game -- adding a playmaker like Chris Paul who can distribute the ball to the Rocket's bevy of shooters in the form of Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, and of course Harden himself, it's no wonder D'Antoni is feeling invincible heading into the matchup with Golden State.
Despite this, the Warriors could very well be the best offensive team in the history of the NBA, and are easily the most threatening team on offense in today's league by a mile -- leading the NBA with 115.9 points per game last season. With all four All-Stars returning for another run at the Larry O'Brien and hoping for a repeat, the Dubs are looking damn near unstoppable heading into next season.
Regardless of the level of competition, coach D'Antoni and his band of dimers and snipers are heading into next season with a chip on their shoulder after their disappointing end to last season, and I would not be surprised to see Houston only a few games behind Golden State when the final day of the regular season rolls around.