As all teams arrived in Orlando for the NBA return, one was missing their star players. The Houston Rockets came to Disney World on July 10th, but their superstars James Harden and Russell Westbrook were nowhere to be seen. Coach Mike D’Antoni explained, “I don’t think it’s going to be too many days. It will work itself out. Some things you can’t control totally, but in a few days, they’ll be here.”
Now, Rachel Nichols and Tim MacMahon from ESPN then gave a further update.
The Rockets are declining to cite a reason for the late arrivals. “These are things people are dealing with,” Mike D’Antoni said. https://t.co/gZn5yqPP4a
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 13, 2020
Now that they will be arriving later, they will need two negative COVID-19 tests and quarantine for two days before joining the team. A potential reason why they didn’t travel with the team, could be safety concerns.
Will this affect the Houston Rockets team chemistry?
In their absence, the Rockets have had one practice so far. But sharpshooter Ben McLemore seemed to have no problem with their absence. While speaking to the Houston Chronicle, he said, “Today we had our first day of practice and it was amazing,” McLemore said. “Everybody
is ready to get back out there on the court. We’re looking good today. It’s not shocking. I know all our guys stayed in shape and
made sure they stayed active.”
D’Antoni spoke about the positivity in the camp and there was no mention of Harden and Westbrook’s absence. “Obviously everybody’s optimistic right now, but I think we have a good shot at it. We play differently than everybody else. Enthusiasm’s great. It’s the first day of a great journey we want to go on. We have some of the best players in the league, so why not?”
Their star players may not have arrived yet, but it doesn’t look like it has affected the camp so far. The former MVPs, Harden and Westbrook have been carrying the small-ball Rockets and have had exceptional seasons so far. However, as a team, they have disappointed, standing in at the 6th seed now.
Coach D’Antoni will be hoping that when his stars show up, they can quickly settle in and make up for the lost time. heir first scrimmage is on July 24, and they take on the Toronto Raptors. The Rockets need their star duo to fire in the playoffs as they aim to win their title since 1995.