Kevin McHale Talks Rockets’ Roster, Outlook

Rockets GM Daryl Morey is the primary member of the team's front office responsible for an unusual offseason that saw Houston lose its two point guards (Kyle Lowry via trade, Goran Dragic via free agency), sign two restricted free agents (Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik) to big three-year deals, amnesty Luis Scola, and stock up on power forwards. When the season gets underway though, it'll be coach Kevin McHale that's responsible for actually coaching the players that ended up with the Rockets.

With training camp still a few weeks away, Jason Friedman of spoke to McHale about the construction of Houston's roster and his expectations for the coming year. The piece is the first of a two-part series, so we can look forward to hearing more from McHale on Wednesday. In the meantime though, the first half of Friedman's discussion with the head coach provides plenty of worthwhile tidbits. Let's round up a few of them.

On the team's young core:

"It’s the team that we have. To be honest with you, I wish we had more veterans. I’m very competitive. I want to win. We can still win but it’s always much more difficult to win on a consistent basis in this league with young guys…. But there is an exciting element of taking kids and teaching them how to play the right way in the NBA, teaching them how to be pros every single day, teaching them how to just get better on a daily basis and how to deal with the ups and downs of the NBA."

On dealing with the roster overhaul that occurred this summer:

"When I look at our team right now we’re probably only going to have four guys who were on the team last year, with Chandler [Parsons] and [Patrick Patterson] and [Kevin Martin] and Marcus [Morris]. So we’ll probably have 11 new faces to figure out, 'What can this guy do? How can I put him in situations to succeed?' There’s going to be a lot of trial and error and that, to me, isn’t the fun thing. That, to me, is always the scary thing because there’s so much unknown. Everything works on a white board and everything works when you’re sitting around with a bunch of coaches, but when you get a bunch of guys you’ve never been around before you have to figure out what actually works on the floor. So I just hope we can narrow that down quickly."

On what style of play he expects from his squad:

"Ideally if you asked me how I’d like to play I’d say that I’d like to have a big guy to throw the ball to and pound the hell out of the other team. If you don’t have those guys then it’s very hard to do that…. So we’re just going to have to do whatever fits our team the best. If our best playmaker is our two-man then we’ll run a ton of stuff that will allow him to make plays. If our best playmaker is our four-man, then we’ll run a ton of stuff for him to make plays. The object is not to run your offense, the object is to run an offense that fits your team. I’m not playing, so it doesn’t matter what I like; it matters what these guys can and can’t do."

On one of the team's three first-round draft picks, Royce White:

"He’s unique: He can handle the ball, he can make passes, he can make plays. He’s going to have to take care of the ball a little bit more and understand that the holes in the NBA are all smaller and what was a good pass in college is no longer a good pass in the NBA because guys’ arms are longer, they’re quicker to the ball and they’re smarter. So it doesn’t matter really if you play Royce at the point guard, off guard, whatever – he’s going to play the same way. So now we’ve just got to figure out how we can get him the ball in those situations and be effective."

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