Following the Houston Rockets preseason opening win versus the Shanghai Sharks James Harden and K.J. McDaniels spoke to the media.
James Harden looked every bit as good as any top tier point guard in the NBA in the Houston Rockets preseason home opener. He spoke to the media following the convincing 131-94 victory over the Shanghai Sharks.
Harden on his production:
Harden spoke of his progression of learning how to read the plays in knowing when to be a play maker and when to take over.
Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts after a play during the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Noted a couple of mistakes made on the weak side of the floor and how he and the team will look to get better in that regard.
Harden on the defense:
- Overall he was happy with the defensive effort speaking to the fact the team is all communicating with each other.
- Rockets missed some assignments but is confident they’ll fix them after reviewing the film.
Harden on specific teammates:
- Pablo Prigioni’s job is the same as Harden’s to move the ball and keep the offense flowing.
- Asked about Capela, Harden said Clint worked hard in the off season and how they are constantly growing as they spend more time with each other.
- When asked to describe the differences between Nene and Capela: Harden said both are really smart. Harden pointed to Nene’s passing ability and said Capela will continue to grow as he gets more comfortable.
K.j. McDaniels was arguably the biggest surprise of the night. His repeated cuts to the basket resulting in wide open dunk opportunities attested to his growth and high I.Q. The Rockets shooting guard also spoke to the media.
McDaniels on his connection with Harden:
One reporter pointed out the connection between him and Harden. McDaniels responded by saying it felt they had been doing those lob connections for years.
Further McDaniels said it’s a matter of reading the situation. KJ down played his own I.Q. focusing instead on Harden’s being adept at reading the floor.
Sep 23, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard K.J. McDaniels (32) during media day at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Ultimately though it’s a matter of KJ making the right cuts and putting himself in a position to excel
McDaniels on D’Antoni and system:
- Reporters told McDaniels that D’Antoni said he wants him to be the best defender when he’s on the court. Obviously the latter comment was made so D’Antoni can also tell Ariza the same in the starting line-up unit.
- McDaniels was honored D’Antoni has the confidence in him.
- KJ feels he needs to get better at guarding small guards and is working to improve in that area.
- Further, McDaniels notes he can play the 2, 3 or 4 and can defend any of those positions.
- The shooting guard said he is working to be able to give the coach the option of using him in those circumstances.
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McDaniels thoughts on his own play:
- Asked how he felt about his performance: McDaniels was unhappy with giving up some defensive plays and felt he could have done better
- This after he was arguably the second best player on the court which points to KJ’s lack of ego
Clearly Mike D’Antoni has discovered what many of us have seen from the youngster and have been dying for a coach to unleash. The combination of his athleticism, defensive prowess and newly discovered range bode well for the team moving forward. He’ll push Corey Brewer which is a good thing, and it says here he’ll be the wing D’Antoni turns to first off the bench by mid season if not sooner.
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