ITo be honest, I didn't have high hopes when the Houston Rockets hired Chris Finch to coach their newly acquired Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the NBA Development League after the coach spent had spent his entire career in Europe.
Fast forward two seasons, though, and my high hopes have become too high as the Rockets apparently aren't considering the highly-successful D-League head coach for their own head coaching position (vacated when Rick Adelman and Daryl Morey parted ways) according to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen.
Finch is not expected to be a candidate for the head coaching position with the Rockets apparently seeking a coach with experience as an NBA head or assistant coach.
In his two years with the Vipers, Finch -- along with former NBA player and coach and current Vipers' lead assistant Paul Mokeski -- has led the team to a 67-33 record while advancing to the D-League Finals both seasons, winning last year's D-League Championship. He was also named D-League Coach of the Year in 2010.
The coaching staff has also been able to advance Jerel McNeal, Jeff Adrien, Mustafa Shakur, Mike Harris, Kenny Hasbrouck, Garrett Temple, Will Conroy and Antonio Anderson to the NBA for at least a 10-day contract (with five of those players being signed by their NBA franchises for the remainder of the season).
Finch also has head coaching experience in Europe, as noted, along with being the head coach of the British National Team for the upcoming 2012 London Olympics with Mokeski and fellow D-League head coach Nick Nurse on his staff as assistant coaches.
Those accolades don't necessarily scream that Finch deserves an NBA head coaching opportunity over some of the rumored candidates, but surely 15 years of head coaching experience and a couple of years developing NBA players is as at least as worthy of an NBA head coaching interview as the resume of Sam Cassell (Cassell retired in 2009 and has spent just two seasons on the staff of one of the worst teams in the league with the Washington Wizards).
Unrelated to this story, but in a disappointing turn of events, Feigen didn't mention fellow former minor league coaches Dave Joerger of the Memphis Grizzlies or the Philadelphia 76ers' Quin Snyder as coaches the Rockets have shown interviewed or even shown interest in after both coaches had previously been mentioned in various media reports.