A day after the craziness that is media day, the Houston Rockets finally hit the court as they opened their 2013 training camp.
The team held a lighter, non-contact practice for nearly 2 ½ hours Saturday morning and will hold a scrimmage-like practice with contact Saturday evening.
“Today was pretty much teaching a lot of things in our offense and our defense – just different sets and our principals,” forward Chandler Parsons said. “We’ve got so many new guys, it’s going to take them a little bit of time to get used to it but today was good. Everybody went hard and everybody was focused.”
“A lot of new stuff, new terminology,” head coach Kevin McHale said. “The thing about training camp with a lot of new guys, it’s just muddling through the first three or four or five days and then it starts thinning out.”
In addition to just trying to get everybody acclimated on the first day, another main focus of the Rockets was defense.
“In order for us to be a great team we’ve got to play defense, and last year our defense wasn’t that good, especially transition defense,” Rockets center Dwight Howard said. “We got to do a good job this year of getting back, getting stops, and that’s what we worked on at the beginning of practice.”
And throughout practice, it was Rockets guard James Harden who was the most vocal.
“He ran the floor hard,” Howard said. “He pushed himself to the limit and as a leader, that’s what you have to do.
“Me and him are on the same page and we understand what we have to do as leaders of this team, and we’re going to push everybody to the limit.”
But not before pushing themselves to the limit.
“My conditioning, my defensive stance,” said Harden, who was the first player at practice. “I’m not really worried about offense -- my post game I’ve been working on that a lot this summer -- but it’s the majority my defense. Just trying to make sure I can play both sides of the court for 40 minutes.”