The concept endlessly amuses Warriors forward Draymond Green. In his mind, the Warriors have the most talent and the most confidence to win an NBA championship in what would mark their third in the past four years. That expectation has only prompted several of the other 29 NBA teams to stockpile their roster in hopes to prove them wrong. The Houston Rockets hope to be one of those teams. When the Golden State Warriors have their ring ceremony before Tuesday’s season opener at the Oracle, the Rockets hope to state their case that they have what it takes to expose a Warriors weakness that has otherwise become hard to find. The Rockets acquired All-Star point guard Chris Paul to pair with James Harden, while sending the Clippers seven players and a 2018 first-round pick. “I guess he took some risks,” Green said about Rockets general manager Daryl Morey after practice on Monday. “He got Chris Paul. He’s a man of his word. He took some risks.” With those risks yielding a high return, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told ESPN about the Warriors. “You’re not gonna stop them. It’s just not gonna happen. They’re not gonna stop us, either.” The dismissive tone in Green’s voice grew louder after a reporter relayed D’Antoni’s quote. “I don’t know how serious they take defense with that comment,” Green said, shaking his head. “But they added some good defensive players.” Green listed Paul’s defensive credentials, while admitting the potential loss in parting ways with Beverly. Then again, plenty of focus centers on how Harden and Paul will co-exist and D’Antoni’s fast-paced system that puts a heavy emphasis on 3-point shooting. How does that matchup with the Warriors’ top-ranked offense in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Green? “They want it to be a shoot out, which is fine,” Green said. “But we’re going to play some defense. We scored pretty well. But we’re a damn good defensive team too. So we’re going to play some defense.” The Warriors have been a top-five team in defensive efficiency in the past four years. Last season, the Warriors led the NBA in defensive field-goal percentage (43.5 percent), steals (9.57 per game) and blocks (6.77). That is vastly superior to the Rockets, which fared 26th in points allowed (109.6) and 23rd in defensive field-goal percentage (46.3%). Still, the Rockets were dangerous offensively before landing Paul. They trailed only the Warriors in total offense (115.3 points per game), while Harden ranked second in the NBA in scoring (29.1), ranked first in assists (11.2) and first in free-throw attempts (10.9).
Draymond on Rockets: “I don’t know how serious they take defense”
San Jose Mercury News | Oct 17