Rockets camp business as usual, minus James Harden’s absence

As much as James Harden’s absence leaves a void, Rockets coach Stephen Silas said the work at training camp has not changed. He even offered a look at what Harden has been missing.

“We’ve been doing a lot,” Silas said. “The practice plan hasn’t changed, not one bit. As far as how we’re going to do things on the offensive and defensive end and … today we worked on pick-and-roll defense. That is whoever’s on the floor. The way our offense is set up, with less isolations and more ball movement, that’s for everybody. Our practice plans and the way we’ve been doing things, haven’t changed, not one bit.”

As he had on Sunday, Silas in particular cited the play of guard Eric Gordon, coming off an injury-filled season.

“We’ve been doing 80 percent defense and … I didn’t realize what a good defender he is,” Silas said. “He closes out, great technique. He’s strong, he’s quick, he has very good defensive instincts.

“Then, on the offensive end, he can shoot obviously. His job is to shoot and attack closeouts. But he has some game on the offensive end, which is really good to see. Whether we’re playing spaced out, five-out and multiple guys touching the ball, it’s good for him to turn the corner or shoot the shot that is created by a teammate. So, I’ve definitely been very happy with what he’s been doing on both ends of the floor.”

Only seven of the 19 players in camp have played together at all, and that includes Gerald Green who missed all of last season, and Bruno Caboclo, who was picked up in February and rarely played.

Though Silas said there has been an emphasis on more ball movement, Rockets forward P.J. Tucker said the changes he has seen so far have been “tweaks.”

“I know a lot of our offense is similar to what we’ve been running,” Tucker said. “Coach has put in some tweaks and some different terminology and stuff. A lot of the stuff is the same, honestly. Defensively, we put in a few different things. I think for guys – there’s only a few of us – that have been here, it’s a little bit easier a transition because it’s not a total change. A lot of stuff is the same. I think coach has done a good job of implementing stuff and doing what we were doing as well. I like it.”

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