Well, the offseason is officially over, as the Houston Rockets are about to finally hit the hardwood again in tomorrow night’s preseason kickoff in Oklahoma City against the revamped Thunder. The Rockets look ready to go.
First, they consolidated their normal short practices into one long one in an effort to build some additional chemistry before the games begin. Chris Paul told the Houston Chronicle:
"It was great to get up and down the court. We had a real competitive practice. That's what it's all about. It's about getting better. I think we got better today."
Also, Houston is finally fully healthy. Nene is totally recovered from the groin injury he suffered in the playoffs last season, and P.J. Tucker, who had not been practicing due to a hamstring strain, also appears to be recovered. It’s uncertain if he’ll play in Tuesday night’s contest.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni did tell the Chron that Tucker, who returned to practice over the weekend, “looked good, looked real good,” with Tucker himself then saying:
"I'm 100 percent. The trainers have been on me tough, but I'm working every day, building up to get to this point so now, it's just getting back out there, getting in better shape.
"We're just been amping it up more now that I'm 100 percent so every day, we're pushing it, getting in early, staying a little later, getting extra work in."
And finally, the Rockets plan to treat Tuesday night’s contest as a dress rehearsal for the start of the regular season. With a constricted preseason schedule this year that features just five games, the Rockets don’t have much time to get into regular season form before opening the year against the Golden State Warriors at the Oracle in two weeks Oct. 17. D’Antoni said:
"We want to act like it's halfway through the preseason schedule. We're taking it seriously. We won't play total normal minutes, but our rotations will try to simulate what we'll see in (regular-season) games.
"I'll experiment a little bit, but it could be exactly what you'll see the opening game. Could be. Sometimes you hit on it, you like it. Sometimes you have to tweak it."
With just one more day to go before we get to see our 2017-2018 Rockets in action and find out what Paul and James Harden look like playing together on the NBA hardwood, along with the other roster upgrades Houston has made, the Rockets appear primed to get the year off to a very fast start.