Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni promises to have ‘Hall of Fame point guard on the floor at all times’
Heading into his second season as the head coach of the Houston Rockets, Mike D’Antoni has an intriguing situation in front of him with an All-Star backcourt of James Harden and Chris Paul.
It will remain a focal point throughout the season as his juggling of two dynamic guards will play a huge factor in how the 2017-18 campaign plays out in Houston. According to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, D’Antoni gave some insight to how he plans on handling the situation.
“I will have a Hall of Fame point guard on the floor at all times, I promise you that,” D’Antoni says.
Paul will come out of the game after five minutes of the first quarter, earlier than at any other point in his career. Harden, who prefers to play the entire first quarter, will now have to take a seat with two and a half or three minutes left. By D’Antoni’s estimation, Paul and Harden will play 18 minutes together, including the final five of every game. That requires Harden to sit for the first four minutes of the final quarter.
“I already know there will be times (when the game is close) and James will be saying, ‘This is bulls–t, I gotta be in there,’” D’Antoni says, laughing. “And I’m gonna say, ‘I don’t know what to tell you. We talked about this.’”
It is clear that this is still a developing situation for all parties involved in trying to figure out what will work best on the floor. What makes it a difficult process is that both Paul and Harden have become players that operate best with the ball in their hands.
Although D’Antoni has a plan already laid out for both players’ time together on the floor, things could quickly change depending on how the two play off each other over the course of a game. There are still plenty of moving pieces in this pairing that may lead to a different scenario playing out on the court.
If D’Antoni can manage the situation correctly, it has the potential to make the Rockets into a serious title contender in the Western Conference this upcoming season and possibly beyond that.
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