James Harden wants Rockets to focus on staying healthy for 2019-20 season
Former NBA MVP James Harden has only one message for his Houston Rockets teammates as they gear up for the 2019-20 season: “stay healthy.”
The Rockets had a slow start to the 2018-19 season, recording an 11-14 record in the first 25 games of the season. They even found themselves near the bottom of the Western Conference, with the hopes of contending for the title seemingly fading away.
It didn’t help Houston that both Chris Paul and Clint Capela missed significant time due to injury. Paul missed 17 straight games back in December to January after sustaining a hamstring injury, while Capela was sidelined for 15 consecutive contests from January to February due to a right thumb issue.
Harden — who was in Manila, Philippines for his Adidas tour — admits that their injury problems hampered them last year, and so he wants the team to focus on their fitness to avoid a similar problem in the upcoming year.
“We gotta stay healthy,” Harden said when asked about what he has learned from their 2018-19 campaign.
“That was one of the reasons that kinda set us back this past year. Health, which is something you really can’t control when it’s basketball. Injuries happen.”
The seven-time All-Star also emphasized that the Rockets cannot “be sad” and “dwell in the past” after their second-round playoff exit at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. He said that they need to improve, even only a little bit after coming so close to the NBA Finals in the past two years.
“We just got to continue to get a little bit better. Like myself, Chris [Paul] and every one who is on the roster, come back and get a little bit better. And then just better our roster, fill pieces that we need to fill, and till with the same confidence,” Harden added.
“We gave ourselves a chance last year, we fell short. So we got to continue to get better. It doesn’t stop. We lose games, we lose a season, we feel a season, make sure we gotta come back and be stronger and be better. We can’t dwell on the past, we can’t be sad about it. We got to continue to push until we reach our goal.”
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