Usman Garuba: "Doncic and myself are very different"
Houston Rockets power forward Usman Garuba told reporters in today's press conference: "I don't mind playing against the biggest stars in the NBA".
Houston Rockets new arrival Usman Garuba says he is not fazed about playing against the big name stars of the NBA and that Giannis Antetokounmpo is "without any doubt" the rival he is most looking forward to facing.
"I've felt good during my first few days in the NBA. I haven't been here long and I haven't had time to adapt to my new team mates. I met them on the team bus on the day of the game. The game is totally different in the NBA, there are more spaces, the court is bigger and you can play with more freedom. For me, that's the main difference between American and European basketball," Garuba explained ahead of his first friendly meetings with the Rockets.
The Spanish power forward, who is a new ambassador for Kellogg's, believes getting to the top is easier than people think. "What's difficult is staying there, the key is to word hard every day. It doesn't really matter if you have a good game or a bad one, you need to always have it in mind to improve yourself regardless of the results and have things clear in your mind. That's what I am going to try to do," he continued.
As for the rivals who await in the new NBA season, he picked out one who he cannot wait to face. "The player who is most want to play against is Giannis Antetokounmpo, without any doubt. I don't mind playing against the NBA's top stars. It is an extra motivation for me, I am looking forward to defending against them and playing against them to study them from close up, learn their tricks, aspects of their game, and see all of the little things that you might miss when watcing them on television," he added.
Ready to take the next step with the national team
The former Real Madrid player believes that playing for the Rockets in a new league in a different country can help him with his own progress. "Over the past few years I have been at clubs where the demands to win are extremely high but in this team, the big difference is that the objective is to improve on a day-to-day basis and work on aspects of our game because we are a young team with players who are 20, 21 years of age. And that suits me," he said.
Garuba added that he still hasn't spoken in depth with the coaches about what position he will play. "We have spoken about it. I will be playing in various different positions, that's the idea, to try out different things. I can't say for certain that I'll be playing as a '5' oe a '4', I'll be changing my position".
He also played down comparisons with Luka Doncic. "There is only one Donic and I am a completely different player. What we do have in common is that we were team mates together at Real Madrid and both of us have come to the NBA at the same age, but we are totally different," he explained.
To end, Garuba, who was part of the Spain squad at this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo, said he is committed to the national team. "It's obvious that the team will need to be rejuvenated at some point because when many of the players have been successful get older they make way for younger players to come through. I feel like I have to take the next step forward with the national team. I have always felt proud to represent my national team and I dream about making the next step to be able to guide the team to win medals," he concluded.