Last season did not go the way anyone expected — players included — which started the chain reaction of move upon move. The team jettisoned players that didn't fit the new world they are trying to create, and they added shooters to help make the life of their super duper star much easier.
Now a new season is here, a new coaching staff, new players, and also a new outlook.
"Like a fresh start," Patrick Beverley said during media day yesterday. "You work hard, you move into that new apartment, you know, everything's a fresh start. That's how it feels around here: like a breath of fresh air."
After last season, who could blame Beverley and his teammates for wanting to get out of that old apartment and start somewhere fresh? Now, gone are the drama-filled days of just a season before. The team can focus on one thing: improvement.
The new-look Houston Rockets have something that last year's team didn't seem to have. This year, there seems to be a bond building between the players.
"Just to kinda be on the same page, just do all the little things," Beverley said of the team practices James Harden organized during the summer. "Having a team is like a relationship, you got to grind it through, you got to spend time on it, you got to put your heart into it. That's what we started, I think we are ahead of the curve for sure."
While it's nothing new for teammates to workout with each other over the summer, it does seem that Harden took it to another level. It’s especially crucial for a guy who reportedly didn’t travel on the team bus last year and spent the summer in L.A. working out with faux-celebrities who shall remain nameless.
"These last few weeks have been really good," James Harden said. "It's going to be an interesting season. This summer we met a few times, just hanging out, just getting to know each other, getting to know each's in's and out's, what you like and don't like. It carries over to the court, that's where we are, the guys have been working all summer."
Harden went on to mention that he's been in Houston the last few weeks and he and the team have been in the gym every day together.
Just because the team is starting to develop chemistry doesn't mean that they are going to go out and win 65 games. Although it sure is a good sign. Last year, it felt like the team was playing a game of tug of war, but instead of all pulling in one direction, everyone was moving whatever way they wanted to.
"Coming together as a group, I think we have a united kind of bond that goes a long way that I haven't really seen since I've been in the NBA," Ryan Anderson said. "I think that this is a group that understands their roles and that's something I can't even explain how important it is."
Last year one of the scathing criticisms was it did not feel like there were any roles on the team. The system was pretty much “give Harden the ball and get out of his way,” but now that is all changing.
Shooters have been brought in along with a new coaching staff is here to install a better offensive system. No longer will it be "save us James Harden." He has help.
There has yet to be one game played, but everyone seems to be on the same page and moving in the same direction. No telling what type of win total all this will end up equalling too, but it certainly feels like the team is off to a much better start than last year.