The Rockets are headed for a top-3 seed in the Western Conference just a season after the team underachieved and barely made the playoffs. James Harden, who is in the discussion for the MVP award, credits coach Mike D’Antoni and his staff for the improvements, as Mark Berman of Fox 26 relays (Twitter link).
“The coaching staff did a really good job of helping us fix the culture that we had last year, the addition of new players, the same players that we had, we’ve meshed really well together,” Harden said.
Here’s more from Houston:
- Clint Capela echoes Harden’s sentiment on the Rockets‘ culture, as Jonathan Feigan of the Houston Chronicle writes. “Since last year, it’s a different team,” Capela said. “Of course, we’re better than last year. We play every game to win. Tonight, we don’t think about if we win we go to the playoffs. We have the mindset to come into the game to win, play hard, be aware of the tendencies of each player. But of course, since 11 months, our team is way different.”
- Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle details Patrick Beverley‘s journey from playing outdoors in Chicago as an adolescent to finding his niche on the Rockets. The point guard was a high school star but had to go overseas and through the D-League to get his opportunity in the NBA.
- Harden believes that many factors should go into deciding who wins the MVP award, but he adds that winning is at the top of the list, Feigen writes in a separate piece. While Harden didn’t come out and say he should win the award, his teammates weren’t as bashful. “No matter what the media say, no matter what the people say, everybody in the league knows who the MVP is,” Beverley said. “James Harden.”