For Rockets coach Stephen Silas, the preseason routine is far from usual given the youth of the squad



The Rockets had the usual goals for the start of their preseason schedule Tuesday at the Toyota Center against the Washington Wizards.

Rockets coach Stephen Silas wanted to work on the chemistry and evaluate the combinations. He planned to test the progress on running out of bounds games. It will keep things basic and call for few games, saving most of the experimentation for practice. The usual pre-season stuff.

But he also clearly remembered how young his team got in Monday training.

“I talked a lot about routine,” said Silas. “For the younger guys it’s more difficult to have a routine. Like, when are you going to eat? How long will your nap last? What time do you arrive at the arena? Who do you work with ? How long will you train for? When are you going on the pitch before the game?

“All of these things are new to these guys.”

Silas probably didn’t have to tell James Harden how long to take a nap or what time to arrive. But the Rockets are so young, for many everything is new. His direction could have been like John Wooden’s opening practices with instructions on how to wear socks correctly and how to secure shoes.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle discusses the Rockets’ weeklong training camp in Galveston and what to expect from the youth roster. Video: Chronicle of Houston

It also underscores the value of the four preseason games, the first for the Rockets’ four first-round picks including Jalen Green, the second draft pick or the first with the Rockets for point guard Kevin Porter Jr.

“That’s why we have a lot of long practices where we go through a bit of everything,” said veteran guard Eric Gordon. “It’s good to do but of course I haven’t seen him for a long time. It is very necessary and we have to face someone else tomorrow.

The emphasis on those basics could illustrate just how much the Rockets are starting over on the pitch. It makes it a pre-season priority to “get together,” Gordon said.

“It’s going to take time with a long period of new guys, a long period of young guys, but we’ll get there,” Gordon said. “One thing I love about this group is that they listen and they want to learn.”

The novelty for much of the squad has kept things fresh, rather than the training camp or preseason drudgery for the veterans, especially with a game to play.

“I’m really excited,” said forward Danuel House Jr. “It’s a fun time of year for anyone who loves basketball, especially for us since it’s our first game.”

Like so much about rebuilding, even in the preseason you have to be patient. If the Rockets forgot about it, a nap time tutorial is often a reminder.

“In the six days that we have been training, it’s more about the process and the understanding that we just have to improve each day instead of expecting perfection right away,” said Silas.

“I want to see them compete. I want to see them play fast. I want to see them adhere to a lot of the defensive stuff we’ve talked about, the patterns and where you need to be on the pitch. There will likely be butterflies and mistakes that we can learn from. It would be nice to see a lot of postponement from our training to the game. “


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