With training camp primed to get going this week, the Houston Rockets held their annual Media Day yesterday, and we heard from many key members of the franchise, including Daryl Morey, Mike D’Antoni, and James Harden.
But perhaps the most anticipated interview (at least it certainly was for me) came from new star acquisition Chris Paul. And while Paul was bombarded with plenty of questions about the current political landscape, he also did thankfully get the chance to do a little bit of talking about basketball. Here’s some of the best questions:
On the Rockets needing to put in some work to improve defensively:
“One thing that I know is the guys in our locker room are willing to do whatever it takes. And the guys that we added — myself, along with P.J. Tucker, along with Luc — you know, those guys are defensive-minded. But it’s going to be a process all season long. We’re going to use camp to build our principles and communicate, talk, because everything is not (always) going to be great. You know, right now, it’s cool to say, ‘This is great,’ but the real test of a team is always in adversity. So that’s going to be our real test, when we do lose a game that we thought we should have won or — hopefully we don’t lose back-to-back games — but when that stuff happens, that’s going to be the real test of our team, so it’s going to be a process.”
On if the team’s heavy veteran presence will make putting in the work easier:
“I think it helps having vets, guys that know what it takes. We got some hard workers. Trevor Ariza is one of the hardest workers. Trevor is kind of soft-spoken, doesn’t say much, which I think sometimes is overlooked. Then we got Ryan Anderson. We got a young guy in Clint (Capela), who just plays hard and plays the right way. And those guys, on a given night, are going to have a lot to do with us winning games. Just like Eric Gordon. I think a lot of people, they forget that E.G. is here. That’s how we want our team to be, just to be selfless and do whatever we have to do to pile up wins.”
On what he’s learned about James Harden since coming to Houston:
“That he likes french fries just as much as I do, first and foremost. But, man, how much he loves to hoop. You got some guys who like and enjoy playing basketball, but then you got some who love it. He is one of the guys who loves it. And he’s damn good. I think the thing that gets overlooked with James a lot of the time is how selfless he is, how much he loves people. He loves people to be around him and he wants to see other people succeed and other people do good. He has a big heart. I think that’s what’s cool about getting to know him even better than I did already.”
On how difficult the Western Conference looks to be this season:
“I’ve been in the Western Conference my whole career. It’s been crazy. I’m trying to figure out when it was ever weak. Everybody keeps talking about it like something just changed. I remember it was either ‘07 or ‘08, and Houston won 21, 22 games in a row and might have moved up one spot. So the West has been like that. The cool thing about everything going on this summer is ever since the trade happened here, all of us are worried about us. Whatever happens around the league happens, but we’ve been so worried about us and making sure that we’re ready for camp and that we’re ready for anything that goes on with our team that we just focus on us.”
Here’s the rest of the Chris Paul video. He also dishes on politics, Hurricane Harvey, and the Carmelo Anthony trade.