Howard eyes NBA title for Houston Rockets

Updated: 2013-09-28 16:46


  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

HOUSTON - A star-studded Rockets team met the press Friday in Houston's Toyota Center, talking about their big ambition of snatching a championship this season and dealing with scrutinies and expectations.

Dwight Howard, the new Rocket, who has signed a four-year max deal worth about 88 million US dollars, told the media plainly at the team's first new season meeting with the press, "Seeds don't matter. We want a championship. It's the only thing that matters."

His ambition was echoed by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. Morey believed pairing Howard with James Harden gives Houston its best chance to win since the team featured Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming.

"We have two top-10 players in the league,"  Morey said, referring to Howard and Harden. "They have to continue to prove that, but both of them have played at extremely high levels. In the league you've got to have at least one and it's great to have two like we have now playing at an elite level. Then you have guys who can play a role and play it well around them."

"We have all the right pieces," said Harden, whose arrival last October via trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder started this whole Rockets renaissance. "We have a lot of talent in that locker room. We have no more excuses. We're just trying build on what we did last season."

The Rockets are reportedly looking forward to the possibility of playing Howard and last year's starting center, 7-foot Omer Asik, at the same time. Asik offered a "no comment" on his July trade demand while insisting he'll be ready to play whatever minutes or roles come his way.

"I'm a basketball player. I'll do whatever the coaches say. I'm just going to be ready for the training camp, be ready (for) changes," the Turkish said on Friday. "Whatever I can do, we'll see."

The training camp starts Saturday.

With Howard and Harden on team, Jeremy Lin, who has enjoyed lots of popularity and expectations, can now enjoy having a lower profile. Lin has said he had tried to live up to the expectations that followed him since his sensational breakthrough with the Knicks. He struggled when he felt he failed to measure up.

"From a personal standpoint, there's a lot less pressure this season,"  Lin said. "I've had such a wide spectrum of literally no expectations to having every expectation. Now it's kind of going back down to some lower expectations."

Lin was frequently critical of his performance last season, when he started all 82 games and averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 assists a game.