The Houston Rockets received good news Monday when it was announced that Jeff Bzdelik would be returning to Mike D'Antoni's coaching staff for the rest of this season. Bzdelik isn't expected back in a full-time capacity until the end of the month due to “some obligations,” but he will do some consulting immediately and participate in a few practices, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
Bzdelik abruptly left the Rockets before the season for personal reasons. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta remained in contact with Bzdelik after the decision to step away from his role as associate head coach, and it seems the owner helped convince the coach to return to the fold.
Bzdelik played the important role of defensive coordinator and helped transform the Rockets into a terrific defensive team. His loss was felt early this season as Houston got off to a poor start on both ends of the floor, though things are starting to turn around. The Rockets won their third straight game Monday by beating the Indiana Pacers 98-94 in a low-scoring battle.
Houston currently ranks 19th in the league in defensive rating at 110.1 points allowed per 100 possessions, per NBA.com, but that number is at 103.2 over the three-game winning streak. The Rockets ranked seventh in defensive rating last season when they were just one of three teams to finish in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rating.
With Bzdelik returning and momentum in their favor, Houston will continue trying to move up the Western Conference standings.