Rockets assistant, defensive guru Bzdelik retiring

Jeff Bzdelik spent the previous two seasons as the top assistant on the Rockets' coaching staff.

Houston Rockets associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik has informed the team he is retiring, according to multiple reports.

Bzdelik worked under Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni and ESPN credited Bzdelik with being the “architect of the franchise’s No. 6-ranked defense.” The Rockets finished with the best record in the NBA last season but lost to the Golden State Warriors in seven games in the Western Conference finals.

“Jeff was obviously a big asset, great to work with,” D’Antoni told Mark Berman of FOX26. “So I wish him the best.”

D’Antonio went on to say that Bzdelik merely wanted to spend more time with his family. “If he doesn’t do it 100 percent, he doesn’t want to do it,” D’Antoni said.

“Bzdelik’s defense evolved into one of the NBA’s best units last season, moving up significantly statistically in the consecutive seasons that he oversaw it,” ESPN reported. “Rockets assistant Roy Rogers is expected to assume a bulk of the defensive responsibilities, but he’ll have help on staff.”

Bzdelik, 65, spent the past two seasons with the Rockets. Before that he was an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies for two years. He was the head coach of the Denver Nuggets from 2002-04, then moved on to the college ranks with Air Force (2005-07), Colorado (2007-10) and Wake Forest (2010-14).

He has also served as a scout with the Nuggets and New York Knicks.

His coaching career began in 1978 when he was hired as an assistant at Davidson. He was named team MVP as a player at Illinois-Chicago in 1976.