Monday, September 28th ushered in the Houston Rockets 2015 Media Day. While we were treated to players talking to the media and getting their team photo’s taken we also came away with a very clear message from the team. The loss to the Golden State Warriors left a very bad taste in their mouths which they all used for motivation this summer.
After head coach Kevin McHale and GM Daryl Morey opened the proceedings 6 players made their way to the media room. There were three main messages that seemed to resonant across each of the interviews:
- They are anxious to start the season
- Feel they overcame terrible adversity last year (injuries being the most prevalent)
- They believe retaining the core and addition of Ty Lawson makes them more versatile and improves their chances to win
While I watched some other players across the Association interviewed yesterday the Rockets really did exude a confidence not present with most of their main competition.
Spurs: I guess it’s not too surprising the Spurs will always appear laid back, they are that way in Game 7’s of championships. If anything it was entertaining to see David West smiling. While Kendrick Perkins may be resident sneer master of the Association, West isn’t too far behind in his scowl. Yet there he was yesterday having a hard time holding back his glee. Aldridge displayed a calm outward demeanor not unlike his fellow Spur teammates making his selection to head to San Antonio seem even more logical in hindsight.
Clippers: Big surprise (NOT) the cockiness continues to resonate throughout the team. They’ve become known as the bad boys of the Association, not in terms of how they pound you defensively, but in terms of how they rub in their offensive onslaughts. For Houston fans who may be angered these Clippers will again be considered a big contender for the title I wouldn’t worry, that sentiment will motivate the Rockets to make a statement.
Golden State: They enter the season reigning champions and with that will come a very big target. Each squad who faces them will use these contests as a measuring stick to where they stand in the Association. The Warriors are led by a still baby faced Stephen Curry who looks like he could be lacing up to trot onto a College court rather than the defending champions. They were kissed by lady luck last season barely losing any man games to injury, so we’ll see how the rigors of having to face each squads best nightly factors in over the course of 82 games. On a whole the team appears to have a quiet confidence (save for Draymond Green) as they enter the season.
Oklahoma City: If I were to pick a squad who has “that look in their eye” it would be the Thunder. It’s not surprising Russell Westbrook is displaying that desire, he does it on every individual play of a game, but Kevin Durant definitely has the look of a man who is hell bent on sending his competition a message he was the MVP the year prior to last (with 3 surgeries) and won’t be happy until he wins a championship. Not surprisingly I’ve picked OKC to be the team who ends up sitting a top the West entering the playoffs next season. This year is a pivotal one for Durant as what happens will no doubt determine whether he leaves at season end or remains in OKC.
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Memphis: While they weren’t featured on the NBA programming and there was nary a word alluded to them in the panels’ discussion it’s safe to assume this squad will once again be a contender as they bring their grind house style defense to games and pound on players trying to enter their paint. Like the Rockets they’ll use the fact no one sees them as a contender for motivation.
New Orleans: Anthony Davis has been appointed “the next one” by many and while they broke through the glass ceiling last season making the playoffs they’ll look to stay healthy this season while improving their defense. If Davis and Jrue Holiday can stay on the court they have some solid pieces in Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans along with new head coach Alvin Gentry this team could make a splash, but it’s likely they’ll simply be moving up the ladder, but not to the top rung just yet.
Of note reviewing the list above you’ll note 3 of the 6 teams come from the Southwest Division which highlights just how much of a battle teams from this division face over 82 games. While I’m not completely writing off Dallas the fact they got punked by DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers led to them having arguably the worst off season of the 5 teams in the Southwest.
Today marks the start of training camp as all the squads prepare to take their unbeaten records into preseason and prepare for the regular season. We’ll keep you posted on all things Rockets stay connected to Space City Scoop as we bring your our writers round table, player profiles and updates from training camp.
To that end, yesterday we brought you highlights from each of the player interviews. Since then their video’s were posted on rockets.com, so we’ve added them in for your viewing pleasure. I’ve linked each of the posts below along with our first player profile (James Harden) and Segment 1, parts 1 & 2 of our round table on the Off Season :
Coach Kevin McHale and GM Daryl Morey Media Day Interview:
Ty Lawson Media Day Interview:
Trevor Ariza Media Day Interview:
Terrence Jones Media Day Interview:
Jason Terry Media Day Interview:
Patrick Beverley Media Day Interview:
James Harden Media Day Interview:
Dwight Howard Media Day Interview:
James Harden Player Profile:
SCS Round Table The Off Season Parts 1 & 2:
Whether it was co-captains James Harden and Dwight Howard at the podium or giddy Trevor Ariza or wily vet Jason Terry