James Harden believes the Houston Rockets are prepared to deal with the raised expectations and scrutiny that comes with acquiring a player of Dwight Howard's caliber after reaching the playoffs last season.

“Good. We’re ready for it,” Harden said. “Each individual guy got better this summer and is ready to take on that pressure.”

“We don’t pay attention to all that going on,” Chandler Parsons said. “We know how good our team can be, and we know our guys are going to work. We understand that nothing is going to be given to us. When we lose some games — and we will lose some games — the media is going to talk about how we are not that good and not championship contenders. You don’t even see people picking us now to win it all. We are just going to go out there and play. We know what we have to do.

“There is so much more hype around it. We have never had James Harden and Dwight Howard on our team, so there is more attention. But I can tell you those guys have worked just as hard as anyone I played with in my first two years, so there is no real difference except the preseason hype, which is pretty much irrelevant anyway.”