In a bid to improve their crumbling defense, the Houston Rockets have reached out to Jeff Bzdelik, the team’s former defensive coordinator. Bzdelik has agreed to return to Houston for the season.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out this very interesting development from the Rockets camp.
“Rockets are in serious talks with former assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik to return to team as defensive coordinator, league sources tell ESPN. Bzdelik has resolved some family issues and sides are working toward an agreement to return to team.”
Then Wojnarowski followed it up with another tweet saying that Bzdelik has agreed to come out of retirement this season.
“Bzdelik has agreed to a deal for rest of the season, but won’t return full-time to Rockets until near the end of the month, league source tells ESPN. He will make an appearance for a brief time with group before then.”
The Rockets are currently 18th in the league in opponent points per game, a far cry from when they ranked 7th in that category last season. Their defensive woes have led them to a lowly 3-5 win-loss card, a disappointment that could be traced to losing defensive aces Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute to free agency.
Bzdelik, who also served as head coach for the Denver Nuggets from 2002 to 2005, was regarded as the mastermind behind the Rockets’ surprisingly high defensive rating last season. The 65-year old Bzdelik retired just last September to spend more time with his family, per Darren Yuvan of SB Nation.
Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is thrilled to have Bzdelik back in the fold as he believed that the defensive coach was a huge component of the team’s success last season.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle wrote about Fertitta’s statement on the recent development.
“I think that Mike (D’Antoni, the Rockets head coach) is one of the great offensive minds, but it takes chemistry to win 65 games,” Fertitta said. “Jeff is one of the missing pieces and we’re just glad to have him back. Mike’s thrilled to have him back. Mike is excited. He felt he could contribute and we’re all happy to have him back.”
Bzdelik will no doubt again rejuvenate the Rockets’ topnotch defense when he comes back to full coaching capacity by the end of the month.