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Monday, December 9, 2019

Articles tagged: Jeff Bzdelik

Pelicans hiring top defensive assistant Jeff Bzdelik

new orleans pelicans logo

The New Orleans Pelicans have made a splashy hire to their coaching staff.

The team announced on Friday that they have hired top defensive guru Jeff Bzdelik to be their associate head coach under current coach Alvin Gentry.

The 66-year-old Bzdelik had previously served in the same capacity for the Houston Rockets under head coach Mike D’Antoni. While his time with the team ended rather unceremoniously, Bzdelik was credited with transforming the Rockets defense en route to a series of deep playoff runs the last few years.

Bzdelik will have several above-average to elite defensive players to work with next season (Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball, Zion Williamson, and Jaxson Hayes, to name a few), so he may unlock the team’s potential on that end of the floor.

Report: Rockets let go of top defensive assistant coach

Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets improved as a defensive unit this past season, but the assistant coach who helped guide that improvement won’t be back next season.

According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, the Rockets let go associate coach Jeff Bzdelik, who was primarily responsible for helping Houston improve defensively in 2018-19.

Houston’s defense was, at least by defensive rating, one of the top units in the league after the All-Star break. It still wasn’t good enough to beat the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs, with Stephen Curry carving them up in a decisive Game 6 without Kevin Durant.

Ownership has vowed to do anything they possibly can to improve next season. Perhaps they believe they can do better than Bzdelik when it comes to coaching up the team’s defense.

Rockets assistant coming out of retirement in hopes of helping defense

The Houston Rockets are off to a slow start this season, and their poor play defensively has been a big reason for that. Fortunately, the man who helped teach Mike D’Antoni’s team to stop opponents from scoring is returning to coach again.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that defensive specialist Jeff Bzdelik, who was the associate head coach of the Rockets from June of 2016 until he announced he was leaving the team back in September, is ending his brief retirement and returning to Houston.

The Rockets struggled defensively for much of the year last season, but they had one of the league’s top-rated defenses over the second half after James Harden and Luc Mbah a Moute returned from injuries. D’Antoni has consistently credited Bzdelik with leading the defensive turnaround in Houston.

Bzdelik surprisingly announced that he was leaving the Rockets prior to the start of the season, but Wojnarowski reports that he has resolved some family issues and wants to return to coaching. D’Antoni has talked about the importance of playing tight defense if the Rockets want to contend against the powerhouse teams in the West, and he’s hoping Bzdelik can return order to that side of the ball.