News and Notes: Parsons gets first practice as Rockets get back to work

Monday December 19, 2011 2:27 PM

Back To Work

Parsons joins practice as Rockets continue prepping for start of the regular season

Jason Friedman

HOUSTON - With half the preseason schedule now in their rearview mirror and the start of the regular season just a week away, the Rockets returned to the Toyota Center practice court Monday morning to continue cramming for opening night.

They did so with rookie Chandler Parsons on the floor for the first time since training camp began as he was finally able to make the transition from observer to participant after signing his contract on Saturday. The Florida product had been chomping at the bit to join his teammates for more than a week now, having quickly grown tired of being reduced to the role of mere spectator as the Rockets ramped up their workouts in anticipation of the season to come. Monday morning, however, that wait came to an end and the rookie did everything he could to make up for lost time, even punctuating his debut practice with a 3-pointer from the wing to help his side prevail in the half-court “shell” drill that brought the workout to a close.

“Chandler did a lot of nice stuff,” said Rockets Head Coach Kevin McHale. “Chandler has got a very good basketball IQ. After practice, the coaches said they really didn’t correct him on any sets or where to go or anything like that. He’s a very bright young man and he fits in with our guys because we have a very smart team.”

That team intelligence promises to be put to the test over the coming days and weeks as the Rockets continue the crash course in team chemistry that nearly every NBA team is currently being forced to take as a result of the league’s truncated preseason. Houston has just one more preseason contest to suss out any remaining kinks before the games start counting, so McHale’s current focus is on correcting and cleaning up the mistakes he saw during Saturday night’s win over the Spurs.

Defensively, he and his staff will keep hammering home the points of emphasis that have dominated camp up to this point: close-outs, box-outs, increased toughness and tighter rotations. And though there appears to be less to correct on the other end of the floor – putting points on the board is not expected to be an issue for this high-scoring outfit – McHale desires a greater attention to offensive detail, feeling that those little things may well prove to be the difference in tight games.

“What we don’t do and what we’ve got to get way better at is a lot of the little stuff,” said McHale. “We’ve got to cut harder, we’ve got to set better screens. These guys make shots and plays; they can play offensive basketball. They’ve got to do all the little things because when you get in dogfight games when the ball’s not going in the hole, you’ve got to do all the little stuff that’s going to help you win games … but these guys are very good at a lot of different areas of offensive basketball.”

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