Stephen Silas is set to become a second-generation NBA head coach. The Mavericks assistant is finalizing a contract to become the Rockets’ new head man, ESPN reported Wednesday.
Silas will follow in the footsteps of his father, Paul, a longtime coach at the professional level. The Rockets are hoping the younger Silas, who will be succeeding Mike D’Antoni, can figure out a way to use star guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook in tandem.
The ESPN report comes on the same day former Rockets general manager Daryl Morey reportedly agreed to join the 76ers’ front office. Silas is the first hire of new Houston GM Rafael Stone.
Here’s what you need to know about Houston’s new head coach:
1. Stephen Silas is the son of longtime NBA coach Paul Silas
Paul Silas was an NBA head coach for parts of 12 seasons with the Clippers, Hornets, Cavaliers and Bobcats. The Clippers hired him as their head coach immediately following his retirement from an NBA playing career that spanned from 1964-80.
Paul Silas was a three-time NBA champion as a player (1974 Celtics, 1976 Celtics and 1979 SuperSonics). He did not have as fruitful a coaching career, compiling a 387-488 overall record. He was LeBron James’ first NBA head coach.
Stephen Silas worked under his father with the Hornets, Cavs and Bobcats.
2. He played four years at Brown University
Stephen Silas, a 6-4 guard in his playing days, attended Brown after growing up in the Boston area. For his career, he averaged 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. As a senior, he averaged 7.8 points per game.
Silas likely benefited from a solid coaching tree during his playing days. His coach at Brown was Frank Dobbs, who played at Villanova under Rollie Massimino.
3. A potential guard-whisperer?
Silas has a star-laden resume when it comes to the guards he has helped coach. Those names include Luka Doncic, Stephen Curry and Kemba Walker. Silas was the Mavericks’ lead assistant for each of Doncic’s first two NBA seasons.
Based on social media postings, Silas and Doncic worked closely together to improve the young star’s game.
Luka Doncic and Mavs asst coach Stephen Silas going over pre game scout and video..
Dallas vs Boston @ESPNNBA 8pm.
Doncic told me he understands the history of the Celtics,watching KG,Ray Allen,Pierce winning a title “when I was young” 😂 (he’s 19) pic.twitter.com/iCMFmv3rbo
— MarkJonesESPN (@MarkJonesESPN) January 5, 2019
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Rockets were impressed by Silas’ “offensive ingenuity.” Harden has been a dominant scorer for years, but his fit with Westbrook wasn’t obvious in their first season together with the Rockets. If Houston is to win an NBA title with Harden as its best player, then it will need Westbrook to integrate better in the offense. Silas will be tasked with making that happen.
Doncic responded to the news of Silas’ hiring on Twitter:
4. Stephen Silas has been a head coach before (sort of)
When Silas coached with his father for the Bobcats, they had an agreement with ownership that the younger Silas would be the head coach for a certain number of games and his father would be on the bench, according to The Athletic. Silas also filled in for Hornets coach Steve Clifford for about a month when Clifford took a medical leave of absence during the 2017-18 season.
During that stint filling in for Clifford, Silas told The Charlotte Observer that he’d been groomed to be a head coach.
“Doing it that year with my dad definitely helped as far as knowing what to expect,” Silas said in 2017. “But I’ve been preparing to be a head coach basically all my life. So to get the opportunity under these circumstances is not great at all. But it’s kind of what I’ve been preparing for.”