James Harden Excited to Play for Mike D’Antoni

The Houston Rockets formally introduced Mike D’Antoni as their new head coach Wednesday, and All-Star guard James Harden says he’s looking forward to working with him.

Rockets owner Leslie Alexander took exception to criticism of the hiring.

Harden also addressed the recruitment of Kevin Durant, the top free agent this summer.

Per the Houston Chronicle:

“I’m excited,” Harden said on Sirius XM on Wednesday. “I’m excited about the opportunity. I’ve been hearing great things about him, what he brings to our team. Obviously, our assistant coaches (Jeff Bzdelik and Roy Rogers) as well. A new beginning and I’m excited about the opportunity.


“I’m excited about what D’Antoni brings to our team. Bzdelik is a great defensive-minded coach coming from Memphis who is going to help our defensive schemes. Then the players we’re going to get, it’s set up as a great season for our team next year.”


Harden was ninth in the MVP voting this season after finishing as the runner-up in 2014-15. He was not on any of the All NBA teams, prompting (Jason) Terry to read Harden’s statistics and calling Harden’s exclusion “a travesty.” Harden averaged 29 points, 7.5 assists and 6.1 rebounds last season. […] “That’s something I’ve been thinking about,” Harden said. “It wasn’t a good year. I guess the media was looking at it like the Rockets are coming off the Western Conference Finals and fighting for the eighth seed. We’re still in the playoffs. With all the things that happened this year, all the negativity, we still had an opportunity to make the playoffs. That’s extra motivation for me to come back and be a better basketball player overall. I’m not down on myself. I know what I bring to the table. That’s another reason why I’m more excited about what we have next year as far as coaching plans and players we have coming in. More motivation for me. I want to get back in the gym, better myself and everything will work itself out.”