HOUSTON – Matt Bullard knows a thing or two about winning championships, and he feels the Rockets can do it in Florida.
KPRC 2 sports reporter Vanessa Richardson spoke with him about the ageism Mike D’Antoni experienced, the health risks for players, and what the Rockets need to do to win.
The emotions of players when Adam Silver announced there would be a season
“Everybody is really excited to get back to playing. I know a lot of players have said the emotion they feel is really that they really missed the game, they didn’t realize how much they loved to play basketball,” said Bullard, who also added that as a former player, it put things in perspective for him too.
What the Rockets need to do to win the championship at Disney World
“The Rockets are poised to be NBA Champions. They went to the small-ball lineup before everything got shut down. They had some success with it, and I think Mike D’Antoni realizes his vision of small ball can work. I know his players have all bought in.” Bullard also said the first few games coming out if the break will be crucial.
The importance of a strong start in their first games
“Dallas is the most important game to get started, because if the Rockets were to lose that, they would only have a half-game lead on the Mavericks in the standings. Then they have games against the Lakers and the Bucks, and both of those teams are at the top of the conferences. Those would be the two teams most people would feel like have the best chance to win the championship.” Bullard added it’s not only about winning, but making a statement that the small ball line-up can work.
If a star player like Lebron James or James Harden tests positive and has to sit out, will there be an asterisk by whoever wins this championship?
“That’s a great question, and that’s something that I really hope we don’t have to deal with. I really hope that no players test positive once they get inside the bubble, but you’re asking a very valid question. What if 10 players test positive? What if 20 players test positive? What if an entire team tests positive? What if a superstar tests positive? There’s going to be some really tough decisions to make, and I really commend Adam Silver for what he’s done so far, and he’s the one who’s going to have to make that decision if it were to come around.”
On many saying Mike D’Antoni and other older coaches shouldn’t make the trip due to COVID-19 concerns
“Mike is a very genuine guy, he has a great heart. He’s very informed and he knows what’s going on. He’s going to take the proper steps to protect himself. Alvin Gentry, the coach of the Pelicans, another guy who was involved in that conversation, both those guys are good guys. Let’s hope they don’t have to deal with the virus. That’s one thing Adam Silver had to take into account as he put this plan together; he does have some coaches who are older, there are some coaches who have underlying health issues. All of that is very important that we keep everybody safe.”
On the Rockets being destined to win
Speaking of asterisks, many say that the Rockets two titles from the ’90s have asterisks because Jordan wasn’t playing. Bullard, part of one of those championship teams, laughed as he responded:
“It is (fate for the Rockets to win,) and I’m vehemently against those Asterisks for the ‘94 and ‘95 Rockets championships, we would’ve beaten the Bulls even if Michael Jordan was playing, come on!”
Bullard also added the weight loss of James Harden and Eric Gordon has the potential to help with the implementation of small ball.