Don Chaney said he expects more success as coach of the Houston Rockets than during his first NBA head coaching stint with the Los Angeles Clippers.
"It was difficult with the Clippers because there was no light at the end of the tunnel," said Chaney, who signed a 3-year contract with the Rockets on Monday. "That particular team at that point wasn't going anywhere. The players saw it and the staff saw it, and it was tough to keep morale up."Chaney compiled a 53-132 record as coach of the Clippers but expects to do better with the Rockets.
"If there were no changes made, we could compete and win," Chaney said. "But I'm not talking about just competing. I'm talking about competing on a higher level.
"When you talk about a higher level, you're talking about an extra player or two for us to take the next step."
Chaney's early assessment is that the Rockets need a guard and power forward.
"We need some outside shooting," Chaney said. "We need a guard at the No. 2 spot who can shoot. And we need a power forward that can rebound and shoot."
Chaney made it clear he doesn't expect any problems from Akeem Olajuwon. Olajuwon criticized Coach Bill Fitch, who was fired June 6, and also made public statements critical of his teammates during the tension-filled 1988 season.
"To be honest, I'm tired of hearing all the negative talk about Akeem," Chaney said.
"You'll have to ease up on him a little. I've been a player and I know about frustration. Sometimes you say things you later regret. I'm sure if you asked Akeem today to make the same statement, I don't think he'd do it."
Fitch led the Rockets to the NBA playoffs in four of his five seasons as coach.
The Rockets reached the finals in 1986, but dropped to third in the NBA Western Division in 1987 and finished fourth this season.