Howard is perfectly happy dealing with lofty expectations from outsiders because he believes he should control the game every time he sets foot on the court.
“That’s what I’ve always expected out of myself,” he said. “Before I got injured, that’s what I did every night — I dominated the game on both ends of the floor. It’s not about putting up big numbers, none of that; the biggest thing is just going out there and having fun and dominating and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Of all the people the Rockets enlisted to help lure Howard to Houston, the star admitted that his new teammate Chandler Parsons made the biggest impact.
“Chandler is probably the guy you should really thank,” Howard said. “He’s been blowing my phone up every day. He’s been great.”
Howard couldn’t pinpoint one thing Parsons said that helped sway his decision, but noted that they had numerous conversations about Houston’s great team chemistry and the feeling of family.
Parsons, a second-round pick in 2011 who has developed into a solid starter, said he tried to sell Howard on the idea of winning.
“I just told him: ‘We’re going to be really good without you, we’re going to win games without you. Come make us great,”’ he said.
The Rockets also got a push in a rather random way.
Howard was in Aspen, Colo., while mulling his options and prayed for a sign of what he should do.
“I believe in signs ... and when I was in Aspen it seemed like everybody I met was from Houston,” he said. “I just had a good feeling in my soul about everything, the direction of the team, and just had a great feeling about what they were trying to accomplish.”