2. Actual practice time for Houston Rockets’ patented small ball
When the Rockets traded Clint Capela for Robert Covington it was going to be a work in progress. During the season, practice time is limited and even teams that have been together all year sometimes struggle with this fact. It’s much worse for teams that make major trades in the middle of the year.
I asked Matt Bullard, a member of the 1994 championship team and current TV color analyst for the Houston Rockets, about his thought on the extra time the Rockets will have to implement their new lineup.
“The Rockets are a veteran team that made a change in style/personnel mid season. This chance to have a training camp before the restart gives D’Antoni a chance to fine tune the small ball system. Mike has been watching video and thinking about how to make this work and now he has a chance to build his system exactly how he wants it.”
Mike D’Antoni also spoke on the need for more practice while speaking with Cayleigh Griffin of ATTSportsNetSW:
D'Antoni says he wants to make it feel like a training camp – "No other team changed its philosophy and players at All Star Break. We're the only team that hasn’t had a preseason or training camp."
He wants to get back to basics and conditioning. #Rockets
— Cayleigh Griffin (@cayleighgriffin) July 1, 2020
The Rockets came out of the trade deadline with a bang, winning on the road against the Lakers on national TV. Unfortunately, fatigue and just plain bad basketball caught up to them and they went on a four-game losing streak right before the season was halted.
Houston fell to New York, Los Angeles, Charlotte and Orlando, with the losses against the Clippers and Magic both being blowouts. They finally broke the losing streak with a 117-111 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves just before the NBA was shut down.
With teams having mini training camps, this will give the Rockets a chance to actually practice with their new starting lineup — something they were not able to do during the season. Think about it: the Rockets went from a vertical spacing big in Capela to a five-out offense. That’s something you definitely need time to work into your offense.