Friday marked the end of off-season anticipation for the Houston Rockets, and a return to normalcy in some ways. Unlike any recent media days, Friday afternoon was filled with a buzz and excitement that had been lacking in the Toyota Center for quite some time.
With a hodgepodge of characters who are unique in their own way, the Rockets seem to have one of the more entertaining locker rooms in the NBA. The players were able to show sides of their personality as well as their seriousness for the upcoming season.
It begins with Dwight Howard, who continues to hand out nicknames to his new teammates. This time, fellow superstar James Harden was the culprit, who was referred to as a biblical character based on his signature beard.
“(Harden) is the leader of the Red Nation, who will part the Red Sea. He’s Moses.” Said Howard.
And as the leader, Harden looks to take his game to the next level. That includes working on his defense and conditioning, two aspects that Harden stated he has worked hard on this off-season. He also included that he wants to guard the other team’s top scorer. That might not happen as Chandler Parsons stated he wants the assignment against each team’s top scorer.
‘We can go as far as we want to go,” Harden said. “We have no more excuses.”
Omer Asik Gets Quiet
The Omer Asik situation has been a mystery all off-season to everyone. Asik spent the majority of the summer overseas, and then playing for the Turkish National Team, so there had been no reports about him since a trade request was brought up from his agent after the signing of Howard. Friday marked the first time the media was able to ask Asik about his trade demand, but it seems like he has gone through a change of heart, at least on the outside.
When asked about his request to be traded, Asik simply answered, “I’m a basketball player. I’ll do what the coaches ask me.”
Howard also spoke about the possible tandem of himself and Asik, as he did right after he signed.
“With me and Omer, we have the opportunity to mess up a lot of teams on the defensive end,” Howard added. “I’m very excited about that”
Howard and Jeremy Lin On Facing Scrutiny
Both Howard and Jeremy Lin are no strangers to facing unfair criticism, and they were both able to comment on that. Lin’s excitement for the season showed as he talked about lessened pressure with the arrival of Howard, and familiarity within the Rockets system.
“From a personal standpoint there’s a lot less pressure on me. I’ll have freedom to be myself.” Lin said. “Coming back to same city as the year before is a really big step for me. I haven’t done that since my junior year and senior year of high school”
Lin was also asked about his upcoming documentary, ‘Linsanity’, which is scheduled to be released in Houston on October 4. He promptly answered, “I enjoyed it, but it was about myself.” The media got a good laugh out of that.
Howard, on the other hand, talked about adding unnecessary pressure to himself by getting caught up with what others had to say.
“If you get caught up in the good, bad and the ugly it messes you up. Some of that happened with me last year.” Howard stated. “Being in the NBA, being at the top, you’re going to get scrutinized.You have to try to stay away from it.”
D-Mo’s Quote Of The Day
The quote of the day goes to forward Donatas Motiejunas, who couldn’t help commenting on the new locker rooms.
“I never saw so many televisions in one place. They got their $7 million worth.”