The Houston Rockets opened their 2019 training camp practice on Saturday inside the Toyota Center. With several new players joining the organization Houston’s head coach Mike D’Antoni said the first day of camp was more of an introduction to the Rockets’ philosophy.
“We spent most of the day touching bases on the philosophy of how we play. What we talked about today is something we will go over every day for the next nine months to find that chemistry.”
In his first practice with a new organization, Russell Westbrook spent most of the morning studying the Rockets’ philosophy from afar. Westbrook got a few runs in with his new teammates towards the end of practice, but D’Antoni said the goal is to integrate him into the system slowly — as the All-Star guard continues his recovery from a knee procedure this summer.
Despite the lack of playing time, Westbrook felt good about his first day with the Rockets after 10 seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“It was intense, and we had good energy. Obviously, it’s the first day, but I feel good about where we are. It was a great chance to build the chemistry and camaraderie to figure out all the right things we need to figure out.”
Westbrook was not the only newcomer learning how to play within the Rockets system on the first day of camp. Big man Tyson Chandler looked extremely comfortable in his first outing in Houston — as he and Austin Rivers seems to be developing a nice one-two punch for the second unit.
Fighting for an opportunity to make the final 12-man rotation, rookie Chris Clemons and G-League Finals MVP Isaiah Hartenstein showcased they have what it takes to play at the NBA level.
After a strong first day, the Rockets will resume their training camp practice on Sunday before taking on the Shanghai Sharks on Monday, September 30 inside the Toyota Center in Houston. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 PM CST.