As the Houston Rockets continue to vet out a shortlist of candidates that they want to replace former head coach Stephen Silas, Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach and former NBA standout Sam Cassell has been requested for an interview, per the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen.
The Rockets are expected to initially interview about eight coaching candidates, Feigen adds:
“Though the Rockets are not expected to interview as many candidates as in some of their previous searches, they expected to meet with roughly eight coaches in the initial phase of the search.”
As of this writing, the Rockets have also interviewed or have scheduled an interview with Frank Vogel, Ime Udoka, James Borrego, Kenny Atkinson, and Phoenix Suns assistant coach Kevin Young. When counting Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, whose future in Toronto is a source of speculation, that brings the total up to eight.
Before assessing Cassell’s fit as a coach, it’s worth noting his credentials as a former player, as player-to-coach pipeline has generally been successful. While Udoka is the only other current head coaching candidate for the Rockets with NBA experience, Cassell is the only one that was an All-Star, All-NBA selection and NBA champion. Actually, Cassell won three championships in his playing days, two in his first two seasons as a pro and his last in his final NBA season.
As a coach, Cassell does plenty of work with backcourt players, as he himself was a former point guard. He does more than help develop players like Tyrese Maxey or try to bring the best out of James Harden though. Cassell in particular is credited with the development of John Wall from his time with the Washington Wizards, as Washington drafted Wall in Cassell’s second season as an assistant coach.
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