Mike D’Antoni explains why he couldn’t sleep ahead of Rockets’ first practice
The Houston Rockets are coming off a disappointing season that saw them fall, once again, to the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 Western Conference Playoffs following their heartbreaking, classic Western Conference Finals series in 2018, which went to 7 games.
In response, proactive General Manager Daryl Morey sprung into action and landed superstar Russell Westbrook, fresh off his third consecutive season averaging a triple-double, to pair with MVP runner-up James Harden, reuniting the two superstars for the first time since their days playing together in Oklahoma City.
Beyond that, the Rockets have nabbed a number of low-cost veteran free agents such as Tyson Chandler, Thabo Sefolosha and Ryan Anderson in recent days, to help augment the team’s strong, contending core.
Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni is so amped for the team to play together that he reportedly barely slept before the team’s first practice at training camp, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle:
Mike D’Antoni didn’t sleep well leading up to start of #Rockets training camp. The 68-year-old coach was filled with nervous excitement.
“I can’t wait to see James and Russell together, see what it is.”
— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) September 28, 2019
Indeed, the tantalizing pairing of Harden with Westbrook is sure to be can’t-miss television next season, but will there be enough basketball to go around? Both players are known for their sky-high usage rates, and both likely suffer when they don’t have the ball in their hands.
Harden has proven himself to be an offensive maestro in recent years, while Westbrook has always been a ball-dominant guard. Will either one of the MVPs be able to step back slightly from the limelight? If so, whom?
Next season will hold plenty of promise from the Rockets, but also myriad questions that the team will have to answer if they hope to make it to the NBA Finals in a stacked Western Conference.
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