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Kevin McHale on Rockets: “We can play with anybody”

Jul 8, 2013, 1:23 PM EDT

Kevin Mchale AP

Kevin McHale should feel pretty confident right now.

He’s the coach of the team that just added Dwight Howard, pairing him with James Harden — instantly a very dangerous pick-and-roll combo and potentially the best duo in the NBA. Add in some solid role players around them (starting with Chandler Parsons) and you have a potential contender.

There’s a lot of work to do in Houston, but McHale was not backing away from the idea of the Rockets as contenders in a conversation with Fran Blinebury of NBA.com.

“We’ll see,” McHale said of pairing up Howard with James Harden in the Houston lineup. “I’m just looking forward to putting this team together, and then we can play with anybody.”

As you might expect, McHale heaped praise on Howard.

“When he’s physically right, (Howard) goes out there and dominates the game in a lot of ways. He’s a unique guy. He can score 10 points and totally dominate the game. There’s only a few players in the NBA who can do that. He can get 10 points, hold down the paint, block six or seven shots, get 20 rebounds, roll hard.

“He can get people shots without touching the ball because he rolls so hard and is such a target that everyone clamps in and the perimeter guys make shots. He’s going to add a great deal. James loves to pass and loves to drive and kick. We move the ball pretty well as a team and he should fit in pretty well with us.”

McHale is going to have to deal with what Stan Van Gundy and Mike D’Antoni had to deal with in regards to Howard — he may be better on the pick-and-roll but he wants a lot of post touches (he’s good, not great, in the post). Also, how do you deal with end of game situations when he wants to be the focal point of the offense and you can’t have him on the court because he can’t hit free throws?

Still, the potential is there in Houston and I like that McHale is embracing the expectations, not downplaying them. Howard needs to as well — what he does in Houston ultimately defines his legacy.

  1. htownred34 - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    There’s a hole at pf and as long as Asik stays a backup our bench will be fine

    • qadrir - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      We have Linsanity, Beverly & Kannan (who I think will be awesome).
      Lin is excellent pick & roll, Beverly will be paired with option “B” Asik, Garcia, Caspiri. Rockets will win the West and I see dismantling OKC. Rockets real challenge will come from SPURS.

      Spurs will be no pushover.

      • rayvid - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        “Lin” and the word “excellent” should never be used in the same comment unless you’re trying to be funny. Beverley and CANAAN (not sure who Kannan is???) should be fine in the back court.

        OKC is looking for a legitimate center and depth. They’ll get it too. As long as Westbrook and Durant are healthy they are top 3 in the West. Don’t be surprised top see Asik going to OKC for draft and cash considerations to allow the Rockets to open up money to get a PF.

        The Spurs may have one more run in them, but the challenge for the Rockets will be learning to play as a team. Until proven otherwise, OKC is still the class of the West. And don’t forget, Memphis (if they are in tact) and Golden State are still around and very good, the Clippers lost no one and Denver is still a major problem for any team. I’m not counting the Jazz out because of all their talent either.

        The Rockets should be very good and are, on paper. But they have to prove it on the court.

      • demasane - Jul 8, 2013 at 9:50 PM

        Dismantling OKC seems a “little bit” pushy. no? Oh and it’s Canaan, Beverley and Casspi

    • rayvid - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      I agree but it won’t happen. In order to fill the gaping hole at the 4 they’ll need to trade Asik. Greg Smith gives us depth at the 5. I expect Lin and Asik to be traded for a quality 4 to round out this team.

  2. htownred34 - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    And no Asik and Dwight at 4/5 is a bad idea cuz both can shoot the mid range jumper and will clog up the paint so no driving for harden/Lin. It worked for Hakeem and Sampson because Hakeem had a mid range as well…

  3. htownred34 - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Can’t*

  4. losanginsight - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Coward is 28. He has hit his celling and has not gotten any better from his rookie year. Coward can get 10 points a game then he will run around with his box score and complain. It will be fun to watch him crumble in Houston. Why didn’t Mchale mention the free throws, getting the ball slapped out of his hands, and disappearing in the Playoffs. This was why he didn’t make it in LA and had to go to a small town.

    • pizzadawg - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      “small town” = 4th largest city in America

    • southsidegroovin281 - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:18 PM

      July is a “Heavy flow month” for you ppl from LA lol…Its a new week get over it already! Have fun looking up at Houston in the standings.

    • 6thsense79 - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      First off the Coward thing is a bit childish. Secondly Howard couldn’t make it in LA yet you guys were puttingup billboards bbegging the guy to stay. Third he lead the league in rebounds playing with a back he just had surgery on.

      • kb2408 - Jul 8, 2013 at 6:52 PM

        Had the LAKERS truly wanted Dwight, they would’ve sat down with him and said, “Dwight, the team is yours, what do you want?”. Dwight would’ve wanted Phil or B. Shaw. To keep him the LAKERS would’ve done anything to appease him.The Lakers made it appear that they really wanted him, and i’m sure they would’ve been fine with him re-signing, but it’s obvious the LAKERS are not devastated that he left. In the long run it’s going to be a terrible decision on Dwight’s part and a great decision on the LAKERS part. He left the best franchise in the league for less money, less endorsements and will still never win a title. Houston is no better than the 4 best team in the West. Dwight was tutored by Ewing and Kareem and he’s still not much better than he was as a rookie. Just wait until he realizes that even in Houston he’s still the second option on offense.

    • cthunder67 - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      Small town? Houston is the 4th largest US city. He may have not shown up in the playoffs, but what Laker player did?

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 8, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      This whole thread is pretty funny. One, because my fellow Lakers fans have turned on him so quickly (I’m upset he left too, but let’s be real, the guy is a great basketball player). Two, because the same non-Lakers fans that were bashing the heck out of Dwight last week are all of sudden sticking up for him.

      • limonadamas - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:25 AM

        Such is the irrational nature of fandom… haha

  5. lexington11 - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    I love how people always mention Howard as this great pick and roll guy, but he has never shown a willingness to ever be the roll man, even when he is good at it.

  6. cantonbound13 - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Beat the Heat!!!

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 8, 2013 at 9:27 PM

      At least you’re consistent. Delusional, but consistent.

      • limonadamas - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:27 AM

        This totally made me laugh out loud.. hahaha

  7. jackntorres - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Actually Omer has already made it known that he, in fact, cannot play with Dwight.

  8. BigBeachBall - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Does houston have a big 3?

    • rayvid - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      They have a “Big 2-1/2″ lets see if Parsons continues to improve before anointing him the next Scottie Pippen.

    • jackntorres - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      Pelicans don’t want Asik, would only trade him for Parsons.

  9. saint1997 - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Trade for Ryan Anderson and they are set

    • jackntorres - Jul 8, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      See above.

    • spursareold - Jul 8, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      I’m guessing if they do that RA leaves ASAP. He likely had enough of Dwight in Orlando.

  10. nightrain42 - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Stupid statement. Of course he is going to say that. This is the same squad that couldn’t make the playoffs last year, and now they are supposing to be the team? I don’t think so.

    • rayvid - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      Are you saying the Rockets couldn’t make the playoff last year??? Are you completely oblivious to what’s going on around you???

    • xLith - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      The same squad that took OKC to six games in the playoffs LAST YEAR.

      • sharingankunai - Jul 8, 2013 at 4:58 PM

        You have to remember that OKC was without their All Star PG Westbrook

  11. thekingdave - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Yes, the same squad that “couldn’t make the playoffs” last season. Except they did. Get a clue.

  12. crtzinc - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    Dwight is a pick and roll beast which is true at times BUT wanting the ball in the post is his demise. Also, who is to say Harden and him can co exist right away, to me that is wishful thinking. Dwight wants to get the ball in the post and not run much pick and rolls and you think that will change just because he is in Houston? Even McHale already is talking about how Dwight can average 10 points but dominate because they want him to simply be a defensive anchor. Dwight will never buy into it. He has this thing where he wants to show he is a complete player offensively too. Also, no team is going to double Dwight anymore.

    • fatcamper - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      Not doubling Dwight in the paint would be a very bad idea. If this happens Houston will feed him the ball and he will be very happy. A happy Dwight plays better on both sides of the ball. It is better to frustrate him offensively and hope he decides to take the night off defensively.

      No matter what it should be fun to watch how this all plays out in Houston.

  13. caeser12 - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Kevin McHale on Rockets: “We can play with anybody”

    All Star Break: “We have to find a way to get Dwight Howard going, because he’s a big part of what we do.” Oh wait, that’s the Head Coach of my dumbass team, Mike “I haven’t got a clue Woodson.” Proceed.

  14. kb24seven - Jul 8, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    wait wasn’t OKC missing Westbrook? oh yea…that’s right…taking OKC to six last year does not give any sort of barometer for Houston

  15. Anoesis - Jul 8, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    How long before McWhale finds a way to trade Howard to Boston?

  16. apmn - Jul 8, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    The Rockets have been playing with themselves for awhile.

  17. spursareold - Jul 8, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    The Rox are a puddle. It’s wet, but not very deep.

  18. nightrain42 - Jul 8, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    I’m not bailing or bashing him, I just don’t see that they will be the best team in the west. I was 50/50 on him staying with LA. He’s gone, so be it. Shaq was right, he cldnt handle the LA spotlight.

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 8, 2013 at 9:29 PM

      You missed the memo: it was all about the beef, Texas beef. Howard left the Land of Fruits and Nuts for the Land of Beef.

  19. kb2408 - Jul 8, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    Rockets fans will soon realize the same thing Magic fans and LAKERS fans did, that Dwight is a cancer and not the type of player you build a CHAMPIONSHIP team around. Will Houston be better? Yes. But they will not be good enough. You will soon get tired of the missed free throws, the ball getting slapped out of his hands by point guards, the pouting when he’s not getting the ball, the eventual complaining about the coach, etc., etc., etc. By Dwight asking for a out clause after only 3 years should be a glimpse of what the future holds for the Rockets. He’s not even settled there yet and he’s already looking for an early out. I don’t care how much he’s talking about working with Hakeem and being coached by McHale, the bottom line is he’s already been tutored by two HOF centers and he’s still a below average post player. The LAKERS may take a step back to ultimately take a huge step forward. And unlike in Houston, we don’t go two decades between titles.

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 8, 2013 at 9:31 PM

      Your post indicates how bitter and scared Lakers fans have become.

      • limonadamas - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:26 AM

        Please don’t judge all of us based on Lakerluver… Thanks.

  20. northstarnic - Jul 8, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    You’re right. You can play with anybody… and lose. Good luck with the most overrated player in the league, Astros.

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 8, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      Yours does, too.

  21. Great Caesar's Ghost - Jul 8, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Uh oh…Breaking News!

    http://caesarsghost.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/dwight-howard-demands-rockets-trade-or-release-him/

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 8, 2013 at 9:30 PM

      Somebody on the old Batman series said “great Caesar’s ghost”?

  22. elnogo - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    Olajuwon develop the mid range with time. When he came from college his game was pure athletic. Sampson was the one with a more rounded game at time. I don’t see why it wouldn’t with DH in the 4 and Asik in the 5, Asik has no offensive game. Je gets his points in off rebounds and last second passes.

  23. halohonk - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:13 AM

    Pick & Roll? All yr long with the Lakers they would set that up for him but he wouldnt roll to the basket. It was there everytime but he wouldnt roll. Then he complains that he wasnt getting the ball in the post. Blamed D’ antoni’s pick & roll offense. McCale is going to get so frustrated with his poor technique and no low post moves that either him or D12 will be gone in 3 years. He is the classic coach killer.

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