HOUSTON Rockets coach Kevin McHale has one major goal this season - make Dwight Howard the best center in the NBA again.
The Hall of Famer said he wants to see the 'old' Howard again for the Rockets this season following a so-so stint with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Howard signed up with the Rockets after becoming a free agent during the offseason.
“I want him to be the top center of the league again,” said McHale during Tuesday’s media availability day at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“He’s been a (Mythical) first team and Defensive Player of the Year before. He just has to do what he's done before,” McHale added.
Howard is a big addition to a Rockets team that already had James Harden and Jeremy Lin last season and reached the playoffs in the 2012-2013 season.
The Rockets finished with a 45-37 win-loss record last season to emerge as the eighth-seeded team in the Western Conference, only to lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round.
With several contenders rising in the West, McHale prefers not to look too far ahead.
“There are a lot of teams but I don’t worry about them. I worry about us. We just have to keep getting better,” said the former Boston Celtics star.
On the preseason game against the Pacers on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena, McHale said it is an opportunity to evaluate how the Rockets’ preparations have been going.
“It will be a real big test. They are a little bit ahead of us, bringing back almost the whole team. We have new faces that are trying to get into our lineup,” said McHale.
First thing, though, McHale said the Rockets will have to shake off the jetlag.
“Everybody is trying to catch some sleep. We’ll try to have a good practice and go from here,” said McHale.