The Rockets were a bit banged up on Monday. Brad Miller and Chase Budinger are still out, but Shane Battier was sick and Kyle Lowry and Jermaine Taylor were battling through some knee pain.
One guy who did practice was Courtney Lee, but given the injury theme of the day, he naturally had both feet in a bucket of ice after practice.
Lee said he felt his first couple of days as a Houston Rocket have been a “positive”.
“Intense, fun, competing,” said Lee. “We have a good group of guys. We’re all out here competing. Our main objective is to win as a team and come together as a team so we can build that chemistry. That’s where you develop that, early in training camp.”
In my opinion, the biggest question for the Rockets this season is going to be “defense”, and one of the big reasons the Rockets swapped Trevor Ariza for Lee is that the 6-foot-5 Western Kentucky product gives Houston a strong on-the-ball defensive option in the backcourt behind Kevin Martin.
“That’s one thing that I pride myself on — defense,” said Lee. “Coach Adelman stresses that. The team is all on board. They know defense is the key. I think I can fit in good with this team. We have a lot of guys that stress defense and are focused on it, so I think I’ll be good.”
As a rookie with Orlando, Lee shot 45.0% from the floor and over 40% from long range, but a trade to New Jersey saw his long range efficiency drop to under 34%.
Lee thinks, in Houston, a return to his rookie year numbers could be in the cards.
“The first team I was on, it was a playoff and championship-contending team. They played the right way. Stan [Van Gundy] did a good job of putting the offense in and everybody knew their roles and knew what we were trying to do. Last year, it was a rebuilding year for the Nets. It was a lot of guys trying to find their way in the league and coaches giving guys different roles to see what they can do, so it was a little bit different.”
“But this year,” added Lee. “I’m back on a team contending for a championship.”