HOUSTON (AP) -The Houston Rockets won 55 games in Rick Adelman's first season and still felt as if they never quite mastered the coach's offense.
Houston acquired Ron Artest and Brent Barry in the offseason, and the returning players say those additions plus their familiarity with Adelman will make the Rockets a much more potent offensive team.
``We know what coach is really all about,'' said Tracy McGrady, who averaged 21.6 points last season. ``And having that season under his belt, we can throw a little bit more in our offense. Last season, there was so much we couldn't throw in, because guys couldn't really adapt to the system that quickly.''
The Rockets averaged 96.7 points last season, 22nd in the NBA. In Adelman's first three seasons coaching Sacramento (1998-2001), the Kings were the league's highest scoring team.
are trying to do too much individually.
``You've got to know what's in your offense, you've got to know what your strength is in that offense, and you've got to use that strength,'' Adelman said after the team's third practice on Wednesday. ``You can't try to do things you're not capable of doing. Patience is probably the key. We're not very patient right now.''
Ideally, Adelman wants the Rockets to reach a point where the offense clicks without anyone saying a word. Last season, too often, he and his coaches had to call out plays from the sideline and give the opposing defenses a chance to react.
``When you make calls in this league, everybody in the world knows it,'' he said. ``It's harder to run anything. Our offense, if we don't have to make calls, if we're just making the right pass or right cut, then the defense can't set up or gear up for what you're going to do, because they don't know what's coming.
``That's what I expect this year,'' he said. ``We're going to be able to do those things a lot better than we did last year.''
Artest played for the Kings in 2005-06, Adelman's last season in Sacramento, and averaged 17 points in 40 games. His scoring totals increased in each of the two seasons after Adelman left, but Artest jumped at the chance to reunite with his old coach in Houston.
Artest said Adelman has a knack for simplifying the game on the offensive end.
to put up a lot of shots to feel comfortable in the offense,'' Artest said. ``I was amazed how easy he made it. It was like playing with Michael Jordan or LeBron James, how the game was just so easy. That's how it is when he's coaching. He knows exactly what's going to work.''
Artest said he's never known a player who didn't like playing in Adelman's system, and point guard Rafer Alston can see why. Alston averaged 5.3 assists last season, and 6.6 during the Rockets' 22-game winning streak from Jan. 29-March 16.
``It's a flowing offense and a lot of guys would love to be in that type of situation, something where the ball is touching three, four or five hands before a shot goes up and everyone is involved,'' Alston said. ``It's not an offense where it's just a two-man game.''
Alston said sharing the ball won't be an issue for the Rockets this season.
``We have unselfish guys and you need unselfish guys to play in a Rick Adelman-style of basketball,'' Alston said.
Yao Ming, Houston's leading scorer before he broke his left foot last February, found a niche under Adelman last season, averaging a career-high 2.3 assists. Yao mostly worked on the low post under previous coach Jeff Van Gundy, but Adelman tinkered with Yao at different spots on the floor.
ep doing that and release the pressure together.''
McGrady said the main goal of training camp is incorporating the new players into the system.
``We'll just gradually improve every day, continue to get better, throw new things in there and more importantly, not be limited to what we can do,'' he said. ``Last year, we were limited because so many guys really couldn't get the offense. This year, we shouldn't be limited.''

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