“I really think it’s unfair for people to think he’s going to be the guy he was 2 years ago,” said Adelman after practice on Wednesday. “He’s got a long ways to go. He’s missed a lot of basketball over the past year and it’s going to take some time.”
As far as having just come back from major surgery, Yao looked pretty good — he appeared confident on his left foot in last night’s preseason opener against the Orlando Magic (See: Video: The Yao high and lowlights vs. Magic), but at the same time, he certainly looked a step or three slow and his timing was miles off.
However, the big fella believes he may have set his goals “too low”.
“It’s better than I expected,” said Yao about his foot. “I think I can run pretty well on the court. I feel pain-free, no soreness, no swelling after the play.”
What was kind of interesting though was after talking with us about how good he felt, Yao walked off the court with a limp.
Brooks Glad Yao’s Back
Aaron Brooks thinks just Yao’s presence on the floor last night was a big help.
“I think I pretty much got one of my first open threes in awhile,” said Brooks. “They doubled Yao and I was wide open. I was surprised and I missed the shot. He’s definitely going to open up things a little bit more for us. He’s still trying to find his rhythm offensively, but it’s good to have him back.”
Brad Miller Still Not Ready
Brad Miller was the last player still left on the practice court, running through mid-to-long range shooting drills. He’s still not ready to get into any game action, however. Adelman said Miller only took shots today — no contact.
“He did a little bit today, but I don’t think he’ll play this week,” said Adelman. “Maybe when he gets to China he might be available to play some.”
Courtney Lee Review
I was pretty interested to see how Courtney Lee would look in his Rockets debut (See: Video: Courtney Lee’s action vs. Magic). You can’t draw any real conclusions from one game, but if you could based on a first impression, my review would be mixed.
I thought Lee made some pretty poor passes — particularly one attempted post dish to Yao backing down his man that was easily picked by Marcin Gortat. He also dribbled himself into a trap once and the team looked unsure how to respond.
But his speed in transition was eye-opening. He reminded me quite a bit of a 2-guard version of Kyle Lowry in his willingness to push the tempo.
Adelman felt it was a tale of two halves, for both Courtney and the team.
“I thought he struggled a little bit, but our whole team did,” said Adelman about Lee. “He got better in the second half, played much better there. In the first half, our whole team struggled. We’ll be able to use him better.”