No questions? Thank you for your time.
I welcome everyone here today to the brand new Toyota Center. The Summit was a great home and the memories there will never be forgotten. However, the Toyota Center will bring this organization to another level. I also want to thank Rudy Tomjanovich for his time in the Rockets organization. He will always be remembered for his time as a player and championship coach. I wish him well in his recovery and will always be a great find. I also want to thank Cal Bowdler and Tyrone Nesby for their two years here. They worked very hard and always produced when needed. I wish them both well.
We are very excited at this time. We've hired new head coach Jeff Van Gundy. He's a proven winner and promises to help the team give a lot of effort defensively and play with sound fundamentals. He bring alot of credibility to the organization and we are excited to have him.
We are also excited with the team we have assembled. We feel we have really good players top to bottom and have a young nucleus to compete with for a long time. We are very happy with the drafting of Carmelo Anthony. He will give us more scoring and along with Wally Szczerbiak will help strengthen the SF position. He is also a player who can provide offense when needed. We're also happy with the resigning of C Brad Miller. He's been a very good player for us whether starting or coming off the bench. He's only going to get better and with Bryant Reeves, gives us one of the best center duos in the league. Our PF spot is especially deep with Etan Thomas, Drew Gooden, and 2nd round pick Sofoklis Schortnitis. The SG position is strong with Manu Ginobili and Voshon Lenard and our PG position is in great hands with Damon Stoudamire and Speedy Claxton.
We feel our current roster has a chance to build into a strong team for a long time. We have depth at every position. We have guys on our two deep depth chart who can start in this league. Our young guys are expected to improve every day and if not, we have other guys who ready for an opportunity. We believe Jeff Van Gundy will get the most out of these players and nothing will be guaranteed to them. Training camp will be exciting because every spot is up for grabs. You're only as good as your last practice. Any questions?
Emeka Okafor - Joe Smith - Carmelo Anthony - Manu Ginobili - Jason Williams
Al Jefferson - James Posey - Aaron McKie - Shaun Livingston
No questions? Thank you for your time.
Calm down, everyone and their mom has one of these now lol.
Question #1: With all the added scorers, what do you expect that will do to Might Mouse's production levels? We all know your strong "bond" with him. If he isn't in the top 5 in assist will it be a disapointing year?
Question #2: Who do you think are the biggest threats to you? Realistically where do you see yourself landing in the playoffs?
Question #3: We've all seen the growth Etan Thomas had last year. Who do you think will be the MIP on your team this year?
A lot of talk is concerning your wing players. Damon, Manu, and Melo. But Damon is already 30 and Manu is 26. What do these two have to do to make the organization happy?
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Your team has a bunch of very good players but I dont see a clear leader in your lineup. Melo is too young and Manu is just a sophomore. your thoughts on this?
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Question 2. As far as the biggest threats, we just try to look at what we can improve on every day. We don't worry about our opponents, but instead worry about ourselves. The West is improving and has alot of depth, but right now every team we face is a threat because we haven't proven anything yet. Obviously we want to make the playoffs, but we have so many young guys right now, its hard to say when the team will actually figure it out and break through. We've asking alot from 20 something year olds right now and we're hoping they figure it out sooner than later.
Question 3: Four guys we're looking at are Wally Z, Brad Miller, Drew Gooden, and Manu Ginobili. Its really going to be based alot on playing time. To me, we expect a big improvement from Manu. Last season was his first in the league and he showed flashes after being in the starting lineup. Now with him being surrounded by Carmelo and Damon on the perimeter, we hope it will open up the floor for him and he can do lots of damage.
Last edited by Pelicans78; 11-28-2012 at 08:09 PM.
About 8 games into the season Manu has slightly more than doubled his scoring output from last season as well as shooting about 5 percentage points better. Do you expect him to keep up this run or will he come back down a bit?
Media Session with Rockets GM and Head Coach Jeff Van Gundy
Rockets78: I want to welcome all of you here today. Training camp is complete and the season is about to begin. I'm really just gonna talk about the new additions and see where the team stands overall. I know that there have been questions on why we haven't made a trade since draft night 2002 and why our last free agent signing was resigning Brad Miller the previous so I'm here to address those issues as well. Really, we spent alot of money two offseasons ago to help the team compete quickly and try to supplement our young draft picks. We've been fortunate to draft very talented players the last few seasons and we feel we have a nice mix of veterans and young players.
As far as this year's draft picks, we're excited for all 4 rookies who have potential to succeed in this league. I wanna start out with our number two pick, Al Jefferson. He's very young, coming out of high school, but we like his potential to score inside and rebound. We feel long-term he will bring balance to the offense with his inside scoring.
Next we have Emeka Okafor. He's a local kid, college player of the year leading UCONN to the championship. We're very excited to see what he can bring defensively. Definitely feel he can contribute right away.
Shaun Livingston is a very young PG from high school. He's tall, athletic and a great ball-handler. We feel he has the potential to be a starter and run an offense efficiently.
Last we have Tim Pickett. He's a young SG from Florida State who can shoot and attack the basket. Should develop alot under Voshon Lenard.
Now I'm gonna give the floor to our head coach Jeff Van Gundy.
Van Gundy: Thank you. Really just going to go over our rotations, scoring options, and gameplan.
At center, I'm going with Emeka Okafor as the starter. He brings defense in the paint which we lacked last season. He brings a good foundation defensively. Brad Miller will be the backup. He can score and rebound and provide quality minutes off the bench. Jason Collins is next and will be ready in case of injuries.
At power forward, we're gonna go with Etan Thomas as the starter. He brings defense and veteran leadership. He's finally healthy too. We're going with Al Jefferson as the backup since he can provide inside scoring for the 2nd unit. Drew Gooden should get minutes as well and could even start eventually.
At SF we have Carmelo. He will be our top guy offensively. Wally Szczerbiak will bring quality production off the bench.
At SG, we have Manu. He will be the 2nd guy offensively, and provide defense. Voshon Lenard is the backup and Tim Pickett will be ready if neeeded.
Damon Stoudamire will run the point and be the 3rd scorer. Speedy Claxton will be the backup and we're hoping to see Shaun Livingston develop so he can provide quality minutes if needed.
Offensively, we're gonna be balanced with Melo, Manu, and Damon leading the way and we're gonna run a faster pace to set up Melo and Manu. Defensively, we're gonna trap sometimes, but mostly get set in our half court offense while alternating between trapping and playing straight up. That's pretty much it for me.
Hi, Will Maukie from BucksNation.com. Just making my rounds for my 28 team write-up and had to stop in H-Town.
What are your expectations for this season? Is the Rockets organization expecting to make a playoff push in the deep Western Conference already? Or will this be a wait and see year to allow your young team to continue to develop?
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Hi, this is Bill Plaschke from Los Angeles. You guys have done a ton to create a great young core. You've gotten Manu Ginobili, Melo Okafor and Al Jefferson. Your team is stacked likc the Knicks who have yet to really break out yet. What do you think you'll do differently than the Knicks to ensure sucess? Also, have you guys started thinking of a strategy to retain your stars once they fall off of their rookie deal? If your players develop like you expect, you could be looking at 4 max money deals and almost 60 million with only 4 players on contract.
Tony from 3 Shades of Blue (Grizz Blog)
Is there any truth to the rumors that you weren't as happy with the lack of improvement shown by Damon this offseason, and if so, what is the outlook for him on this team?
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With the second question, we are definitely prepared to pay Melo and Manu max type contracts. They've proven what they can do. But we if we have to, we will spend big money to retain Okafor and Jefferson. Honestly, we will need someone to step in for Damon and hopefully Livingston can do that in a couple years. We also want to acquire more draft picks whether its first or 2nd at the deadline if we're out of the playoff race since we feel we have strong role players who can contribute on playoff teams.
Sports Guy Bill Simmons here, even though Manu and Melo play different positions than Okafor and Al Jefferson, do you forsee these guys helping along the rookies? They've been there before they know about hitting the rookie wall and the adjustments it takes to the NBA lifestyle. Can Damon be the veteran prescence this team may need he's one of only 2 players on the roster over 30.
We definitely feel Melo and Manu can help our rookies, especially Al and Shaun who are coming straight from high school, especially dealing with the expectations of being a 1st round pick. Emeka is actually a 4 year player and a leader of a championship team so I think he can be the big brother for our rookies, especially Al. But we definitely expect Melo and Manu to lead the way for the young guys because they've dealt with high expectations as rookies, especially Melo. As far as Damon, we really don't know where his head is at. When one regresses in the 3 major categories of his position, I'm not sure how we can ask that person to lead.
Hi! Mike Prada of Bulletsforever. This is for Coach Van Gundy, You have 2 very good young power forwards in Jefferson and Gooden sharing playing time with Ethan Thomas(and his horrible contract). Going with Thomas as a starter sends the signal that you want to compete now rather than develop your young pieces. With Damon Stoudamire regressing, can he still lead your team to a playoff spot? How many wins do you expect to get from your squad
Obviously we're not happy with Damon, but we still feel he can lead this team. Fortunately he won't have to do heavy lifting with Melo and Manu, so he can focus on distributing and with Emeka and Etan in the paint, his job defensively will be easier. As far as victories, we have nice potential, but we have to play hard every night and get a consistent contribution from our bench since we can't expect Melo and Manu to be great every night. Do I think we're a playoff team? Not till we prove it. I won't say it.
Hello there, it's J. Felders from SI.com. How does it feel to not only have former Houston star Rasheed Wallace back in the West, but also to se him playing for the Phoenix Suns? I'm well aware of the friendly rivalry between the two teams.
Last edited by Xist2inspire; 02-21-2013 at 12:45 AM.
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But we still love Sheed and we wish him the best. Its not gonna be fun facing him, and strange seeing him in a Suns uniform, but he can score and defend in the paint. He and Fortson make a tough duo in the paint. We definitely will have our work cut out against Rasheed four times a year.
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