Mike D'Antoni Rises to No. 2 on Rockets All-Time Wins List
It hasn't taken long for Mike D'Antoni to establish himself as one of the greatest coaches in Rockets' history. D'Antoni has been in Houston for just four seasons, but he became the second-winningest coach in Rockets history on Sunday as he passed Bill Fitch with win No. 217. It's been largely smooth sailing for Houston with D'Antoni guiding the ship.
"Anytime you got great players it makes it a lot easier," D'Antoni told the media in a Zoom call on Monday. "And from management, to ownership, to GMs, to the players, everybody wants to play the same way. And that makes my job a lot easier. ...It's been terrific, Houston's been an unbelievably great town. I've been really, really lucky. "
D'Antoni has yet to capture an elusive championship in four years with Houston, with 2018 marking the Rockets' best chance at a title in the Harden era. But even without a Larry O'Brien Trophy, the last four years have marked some of the best basketball in franchise history.
The Rockets were likely to win 50 games for the fourth straight year before the COVID-19 hiatus, a feat that had never been accomplished dating back to the formation of the San Diego Rockets in 1967-68. Houston has become a relative model of consistency in the Harden era. D'Antoni's arrival has only entrenched the Rockets as Finals contenders.
It will be tough for D'Antoni to become the winningest coach in Rockets' history. He still trails Rudy Tomjanovich by 286 wins, and he'll turn 70 during next season's playoffs. There's also the chance D'Antoni doesn't return to the Rockets in 2020-21 after failing to reach a contract extension with the organization last summer. D'Antoni's impact on the franchise is unlikely to ever rival Tomjanovich. But he certainly deserves recognition for leading one of the greatest periods in Rockets history.