Rockets News

Houston Rockets: James Harden won’t play for Team USA, focusing on changes

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 09: James Harden #13 of the USA Basketball Men's National Team looks on during 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup quarter-final match between Lithuania and Turkey at Palau Sant Jordi on September 9, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 09: James Harden #13 of the USA Basketball Men's National Team looks on during 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup quarter-final match between Lithuania and Turkey at Palau Sant Jordi on September 9, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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The Houston Rockets made a huge change this summer, bringing in a former MVP and great friend of the Beard. Now, he will step away from Team USA this summer to prepare.

The Houston Rockets are going to be an incredibly fun team next year. With the addition of Russell Westbrook, they should be a bit faster of a team than we’ve seen in years past with quite a bit more transition ability.

It’s also going to take some preparation from the two stars as they try to adjust to each other’s games once again. They seem ready, willing and able to do so, it’s all about putting in the work, now.

That’s why James Harden is deciding to withdraw from Team USA for the summer, to focus on the changes to the Rockets and improving his game even more. That’s very respectable, as playing with another ball-dominant guard will be a big change for him.

James Harden said he will not be with the USA Basketball team this summer to prepare for changes with Rockets. Said already spoke with Gregg Popovich.

— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) July 19, 2019

It will be very interesting to see how he adjusts next year like he always does. In fact, he said he’s going to bring yet another move to the league next season in a humorous answer at an event today.

James Harden asked by a kid about his step back move and whether it’s a travel—says he’s working on a new move this season that might look like a travel, but it’s not. pic.twitter.com/1HV6gCH6BR

— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) July 19, 2019

Other Rockets possibly withdrawing?

This headline made me wonder about the other Rockets who had previously said they will participate in the Team USA training camp. Both Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker expressed interest in being on the team.

Their games will need less adjusting than Harden’s, so we could definitely see them still attempt to be on Team USA. Eric Gordon would be a great shooter for the national team around some of the stars and P.J. Tucker could be himself and do things that don’t always show up on stat sheets.

I could also see them withdrawing like Harden and starting to build that chemistry with Westbrook. Like I wrote about earlier, he will have more shooters than ever before, including those two guys. Getting ready for next season is much more important than the FIBA World Cup.

Westbrook will have more shooters than ever before. Next

It’ll be exciting to watch this group next season with the Houston Rockets. Let’s hope they start building that trust as early as possible!

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