Tyson Chandler has been around more than his fair share of NBA teams over the last two decades. Chandler has reached the playoffs nine times.
He won the 2011 Finals with Dallas. But the No. 2 pick in the 2001 draft says this Rockets’ team may be his best yet.
Chandler didn’t shy away from Houston’s championship expectations on Wednesday. And for good reason. The Rockets are one of two teams entering 2019-20 with three consecutive 50-win seasons. Only the Warriors have more wins since 2016-17.
It’s now Finals or bust in Houston after pairing James Harden with fellow former MVP Russell Westbrook.
“It helps a lot because you get to understand your role,” Chandler said. “As an upcoming, you’re trying to understand yourself and your game and how this whole thing works.
You don’t realize what your role is. You’re in the process of creating your niche. As an experienced player, you already understand the nuances.
“ The thing I really love about this bunch is the core of this group has been doing it together for a while now, James (Harden), Eric Gordon, (Danuel) House, (Clint) Capela, Tuck (P.J. Tucker.)
These guys have been together, playing together. Gerald Green. We’re only the new ones here, but all the new guys bring something unique to the table. That is why we are here in the first place .”
Head coach Mike D’Antoni is aware of Houston’s title expectations, though he was a touch more cautious when addressing the media on Wednesday.
“There are so many factors you don’t control, I’ve never believed in [Finals or bust],” D’Antoni said. “Steve Nash is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Whether he won a title, that’s irrelevant, he’s one of the best ever.”
Houston has racked up the regular-season wins and accolades in the last three seasons. The Rockets are a perennial contender in the West, armed with a pair of MVPs including the back-to-back scoring champion.
But Harden said it best. After racking up the personal accomplishments, it’s time for he and Westbrook to carry the Rockets out of the Western Conference and into the Finals.