First off I'll say I'm not a Rockets fan, just an NBA fan who likes to see good basketball. But I believe if I were a Rockets fan I'd want to get rid of the coach.
From the day he came to Houston, Van Gundy tried to impose his personal philosophy of how to win - you play defense, control tempo, and wear down the other team. This was the old Knicks philosophy. Problem is in Houston he's never had the players for it. He has a great offensive center and a great, athletic offensive swingman to build his team around. Yao and T-Mac are not brute physical forces, they're very skilled finesse players, yet rather than tailor the system to the talent, Van Gundy has spent years trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. And, because of his philosophy, they've never really tried to get some offensive talent around those 2 stars. Bonzi Wells could have been the 3rd option except that he's Bonzi Wells, and his self-destruction was predictable.
I feel bad for T-Mac that they can't get past the 1st round, but I feel worse for him that he's playing for a coach who refuses to play a system that fits his personel. If Houston wasn't so afraid to run, T-Mac would be scoring 30 every night, shoot a higher percentage, and Yao would get way more open looks. Not to mention Alston and Battier might show they're more than stickfigures on offense who stand at the 3 point line.
As a side note, Houston is without a doubt the most boring playoff team to watch. From a basketball fan's standpoint I hope the Van Gundy system, which is a throwback to the Bad Old Days of "post and kick-out", goes away forever.
All of this definitely sounds very true. Its interesting though to see how much players like T-Mac have said they enjoy playin for Van Gundy. T-Mac is always sayin hes been the best coach and wants him to stay. But that slow down control the game style just doesnt seem to be working with Houston at all.
I think the biggest problem with it is that Houston doesnt really have any scoring options other Mac and Yao. Players like Battier and Alston do really good things for the team, Battier's defense is always talked about, and I think he actually enjoys takin massive charges, and Alston does move the ball well and quickly, but when it comes down to it, they only averaged 10.3ppg and 10.9ppg respectively in the playoffs. If you cant put points up on the board you cant win, even if you control the tempo.
If you look at a team like San Antonio that plays that slow down control the tempo, they also have a bunch of scoring options to capitalize on the fewer possessions. If you look at their playoffs ppg averages, Duncan 20.2 ppg, Parker 18.2 ppg (who each just dropped 30 in Phoenix), and Finley with 16ppg.
I think Houston needs to make some trades. They need to get another pg (how awesome would billups be in a rockets jersey), and a real shooting guard (if only bonzi wasnt a timebomb) to compliment T-Mac and Yao and put some points on the board. If you can get a solid pg and sg, with T-Mac, Hayes/Battier, and Yao, and play a bit of a faster game and score more, should do real well.
Its good the players like JVG, but in the end, they aren't getting it done with him. They need a new coach. Along those same lines, they do need to make some trades/singings this offseason. I think Battier/Yao/Head/McGrady are the only guys that should not be considered. We need a new PG. Billups is out of our price range, but we maybe could pull a Mo Williams. We probably need to try to make some changes at PF. Bench needs an upgrade too....it may come down to having to do a big time over haul and part with T-Mac or Yao.
I like the defense mind set that JVG brings to Houston, but his offense has become to predicatable and thats what has kept the Rockets from advancing. Gotta give it up to Jerry Sloan, he matched up different players on McGrady and Yao on the fefensive end. He didnt let the Rockets players get too comfortable, and he made good adjustments after each game. I cant say JVG did the same because every game, its been the same gameplan for every game of the series. Dump the ball into Yao kick it out if Yao's doubled, problem was nobody could hit a shot, and McGrady cant seem to shake the defenders when they double him. Theres no movement, no fluidity in Houston's offense. Something drastic needs to happen next season, new coach, new FA signing, trades, I dont know, but its gonna be the same old story for Houston if nothing happens.