I missed both the Grizzlies game and the Clippers game, so don’t have too many specific thoughts on those games. But there is one important thing I wanted to bring up. I just had a chance to read some post game summaries for the Clippers game and McHale was given a lot of credit for being creative with testing out new line ups in the absence of Harden. Well, I think he deserves credit for that, but the Clippers game should also call into question McHale’s usage of his players throughout the season. McHale has a fixation on certain players–either seeing only their faults or only their what they do well. He has an unhealthy over-reliance on Delfino, for example, because from the very beginning of the season, Delfino was the only true veteran that the Rockets had. Because of that, Delfino earned McHale’s unconditional trust and he plays Delfino like a starter. I know all the stats about the Rockets being a high scoring team with the lineup that includes Delfino. I’m not oblivious to that, but I think Delfino should be used more as an offensive spark off the bench. I think McHale’s unhealthy trust in Delfino takes away minutes from other deserving guys. Ever since Garcia came to the Rockets, I’ve been screaming on this blog for McHale to play Garcia more, because I felt that Garcia is a better all-around player than Delfino and isn’t as turnover prone. Delfino tries too much to be a play maker out there and doing things that he has no business of doing. Garcia plays more within himself and is a better defender. Garcia also brings more energy–he even does this when he’s on the bench.
Another guy I’ve been screaming for McHale to play more is Anderson. Because McHale doesn’t trust anyone but Harden in the 2-Guard position, he hasn’t given Anderson a chance. But in the limited minutes that I’ve seen Anderson, I’ve been very impressed. I just have no idea how McHale is unable to see Anderson’s abilities. I think, again, it’s because McHale has the fixation that ONLY Harden can play the 2-guard on the team, so he runs Harden to the ground–even when Harden has been playing hurt for long stretches. I think Anderson is just as capable of spelling Harden as Beverly has been as spelling Lin. But because of McHale’s distrust of Lin and his distrust of anyone but Harden in the 2-guard, he over-plays Beverly and way under-plays Anderson to the point of being ridiculous.
McHale’s crazy fixation is a really dangerous thing, as the team could be without Harden in the post season and that would be devastating. It would be ALL McHale’s fault if that were to happen. A great example of McHale’s crazy fixation is in the Pacers game in which Harden was clearly struggling and playing hurt (he’s been playing hurt for weeks now), yet McHale played Harden the ENTIRE second half. How ridiculous, reckless and irresponsible is that? And now Harden is injured. It’s infuriating for me to watch as McHale’s crazy fixation has hurt the team by his over-usage of a few players and under-usage of the rest. Parsons is another guy that McHale has been running to the ground since the beginning of the season. I get that we don’t have a true Small Forward, so that’s a little more understandable, but how about getting a little creative with the rotation? I know I’m alone in this, but I really think D-Mo is more suitable as a Small Forward than a Power Forward. But even without getting that creative, Delfino and Garcia are more than capable of spelling Parsons. Instead, McHale runs Parsons to the ground and then over-uses the lineup that includes both Parsons and Delfino and completely neglects Garcia (Garcia hadn’t seen any playing time the last four games).
Anyway, I have more to say on this subject, but I’ll leave wit this thought. Rather than praising McHale for completely changing his player usage in this ONE game against the Clippers, because he was more or less FORCED to, I think this game is a great example of how McHale has FAILED in his usage of his players throughout the season, because of his crazy fixations. The biggest way a coach can influence the game is how he uses his players and I see no balance and clear rationality in the way McHale uses his players. And I think this is one of the MAJOR ways McHale has hut this team. It’s really hard to prove a “what if”, but I think Rockets could be an even better team if the players were used more optimally. I just hope Morey/Les recognizes this. Not sure if there’s much they can do about it, except to fire McHale, but I don’t see that happening, since McHale will be given most of the credit for getting the youngest team in the NBA to the playoffs.