Rockets perspective of the bubble and Westbrook’s health condition
The Houston Rockets have travelled to Orlando without their superstars Russell Westbrook and James Harden. There were some concerns about this and even if it was believed that the teams had reached an agreement with their stars to travel separately from the rest of the team. A couple of days ago though, Westbrook disclosed that he has tested positive to COVID-19. For this reason, he was kept behind and was put in quarantine. Hopefully, before the playoffs begin he will be back and compete with his teammates for the ultimate goal, which is to bring a championship to Houston. The Rockets were stating that they were committed to it before the virus created all the chaos and everything was forced to shut down. Their focus hasn’t changed but for now, what really matters and is prioritized is Westbrook’s health — everything else comes second.
As NBA Insider Shams Charania reported: ‘’Rockets star James Harden is feeling fine, working out and may travel with Russell Westbrook to Orlando when Westbrook clears from coronavirus.’’
As Jeff Green said recently about Westbrook’s case: ”Just making sure he’s healthy. Making sure he’s doing what he has to do to get healthy. I think that’s more important than basketball.“
Of course, the team needs both to prepare and train properly all together but Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni doesn’t seem to be dubious that they will be back soon and adjustments will be made:
“We’ll adjust when we insert each one of them in there. It’s a good adjustment though. Shouldn’t be a problem. I’m not worried about it all, other than worrying about it. You do it as a coach. Hopefully, by the first of the 8 games, we’ll be ready to go.”
Veteran Tyson Chandler spoke about his perspective around the goals that the team has set and retirement
Rockets big man Tyson Chandler is confident that his team can really do something special this year. Even under these circumstances, with some players opting out and Westbrook getting tested positive to the virus — these facts can’t diminish the effort and work that they have put all year long and he thinks that they have a really good opportunity to achieve their goal: “I think we got a great shot. I really do. I really like our chances. The style of basketball we’re playing right now — I think teams are having a tough time adjusting to it.”
He also expanded further to the state of the team after all these months that they abstain from basketball and estimates that the team doesn’t seem to have problems. This long layoff has affected them in any way, he says:
“I like where we’re at right now. Honestly, we’re a lot better than I thought we would be. It’s been a long layoff… I was surprised. It seems like everyone’s in decent shape.”
Chandler has been cogitating around the idea of retiring but he hasn’t come close to a decision on when this time will be. He thought about doing so last season but he felt like he still had a lot to offer and here he is in his 19th season playing for a contender and looking forward to doing anything he can and why not lift the Larry O’Brien trophy for the second time in his career:
“I’ll do myself some justice, not get ahead of myself and wait for that moment to come,” he said.
Austin Rivers is confident regarding the team’s potential but has a difficult time in the bubble
Rockets reserve point guard Austin Rivers estimates that they are among the teams with a high potential to win the championship:
“We all know there’s three or four teams that have a legit chance of winning . We feel like we’re one of those four teams.”
He also went to say that the team looked really good during the last training session and he was astonished by what he saw:
“It went better than I expected. We look pretty good. Our defense surprised me more than anything else.”
However, he seems to struggle a lot due to constantly being closed in the bubble and not being able to go home and hang out with his relatives:
“I’m losing my mind a little bit. This has been very difficult for me. I’m 20 minutes from my home… That’s where my girl is, my family is… It feels like I’m home, but I’m not home.”
Finally, he was asked by the reporters what he has decided to put on the back of his jersey: Rivers said he’ll use his name on his jersey. Said he “wasn’t able to put Trayvon. I wanted to go a different route.” Said he wanted to represent Orlando and Trayvon Martin, but wasn’t allowed to.
It’s normal to see players and coaches have their own concerns and mental struggles but this is a really tough interval with all the chaos that prevails out there due to the virus and the other issues that have overwhelmed the society as whole but everyone has to adjust to the circumstances and by taking one step at the time will get out of this wrongly perceived as an insurmountable obstacle even stronger.
Update: James Harden has arrived in the bubble, Houston awaits the arrival of teammate Russell Westbrook after he announced he tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the team departing for Orlando. Harden and Westbrook are Houston’s only hope in competing for a title this season, and now we know at least one of their two superstars have made it to Disney.
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