With the onset of Houston Rockets training camp Ryan Anderson spoke to the media offering insight on how he’ll have more freedom playing with James Harden.
Ryan Anderson was asked what it’s like to play with James Harden. Anderson cited Harden’s ability to drive and move the ball unlike anyone he’s ever played with. I bet Tyreke Evans isn’t too happy hearing that news given he’s one of the best guards at driving the paint. Still, it’s understandable what Anderson means.
Difference as a Starter:
Playing behind Anthony Davis he’s been relegated to a bench role, so his minutes on the court often come with full attention isolated primarily on him. Now that he’ll be playing alongside his good friend Gordon as well as with a play maker of Harden’s ability, Anderson is sure to get a ton open shots.
Asked if the pace or tempo would be an issue Anderson said no since Alvin Gentry was trying to implement that system in New Orleans last season though injuries and personnel made it difficult to successfully complete.
Anderson’s comments about getting open shots seemed to strike a negative chord in New Orleans who feel the stretch four is throwing shade. The reality is he’s been doing that since his arrival, as has Gordon in a more passive aggressive manner.
— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) September 29, 2016
The Secret Motivation:
Obviously, this may well speak to Anthony Davis’ inability to lead his squad. Ironically, it seems Harden felt a similar disdain for former co-captain Dwight Howard. Several players have noted they’re desire to correct wrongs. So the team has quickly developed this communal feel. It’s quite brilliant, since the truth isn’t the issue. Or rather, it doesn’t matter if it’s true, since the Rockets are utilizing the “us against the world” mantra for their motivation.
Hey, it’s worked for the Raptors though the narrative north of the border really is an us against them scenario. Don’t believe me? Toronto came within 2 games of getting to the finals and boasts 2 gold medalists from the summer. Yet the Knicks, Bulls, Heat, Celtics, Pacers, Wizards and of course the Cavaliers have all received Media Day coverage while the Raptors haven’t been featured at all. Of note, 3 of those aforementioned teams didn’t make the playoffs and 2 of them were dispensed of by the Raptors!
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My point is the Raptors found a way to use the us against the world mentality and the fan base exploded with support because of it. Last season games in Detroit and Cleveland had more Raptors fans in attendance then their own.
So, if Ryan Anderson, James Harden and co want to use what they consider to be disrespect to motivate them, I say more power to them.
For Harden, it’s a Howard did me wrong refrain. For Anderson and Gordon it’s a “we were under appreciated” refrain. And for Nene it’s a I finally get to work with a young star who is completely committed to improving his team, not fighting with his co-star.
Whether these are realistic goals or will even be discussed part way into the season is irrelevant. It’s exactly what the team needs to motivate themselves to launch their 2016-17 campaign.
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