DON’T look now but Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler believes the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers have what it takes to give two-time reigning champion Miami Heat a run for their money in the coming 2013-14 NBA season.
Drexler, a former 10-time All-Star and voted as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players, said the Rockets’ acquisition of star center Dwight Howard and the Pacers’ rise as a power in the East are enough indications the Heat will be facing rough sailing in their bid for a `three-peat.’
“Houston and Indiana, these are two great teams that can eventually become foes in the NBA Finals. That’s how great I think they (Rockets and Pacers) are. It would be great to see that, no Heat or Spurs,” Drexler said as he shared his thoughts during a brief time with mediamen at the Sofitel Hotel on Monday.
The 51-year-old player nicknamed 'The Glide’ is currently in town together with several former NBA stars to lend their presence as the world’s most popular basketball league holds its first-ever preseason game in the country featuring the Rockets against the Pacers.
The Rockets are unveiling Howard, the 7-foot power-dunking center, who they acquired in a blockbuster off season to team up with All-Star guard James Harden and Jeremy Lin against an intact Pacers team led by Paul George who stretched the Heat to a deciding Game Seven in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals.
The 6-foot-7 Drexler, who won his only NBA title with the Rockets back in 1995, cited George as one of the league’s up and coming stars, along with Harden.
“The NBA has a lot of great players. I think guys like James Harden, Dwight Howard, they don’t get enough attention, and Paul George is another, so many great players in today’s game, and that’s why it’s so much fun to watch,” he added.
Drexler said holding an NBA preseason game in the Philippines is a step in the right direction, given the increasing global popularity of the league.
“It’s gonna be great. Every time you have games in Asia or international waters, it’s a step in the right direction. I think we all look forward to that day,” he added.
The former University of Houston stalwart won an Olympic gold medal in 1992 as part of the original Dream Team that blew away the opposition during the Barcelona Games.