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McHale also is eager to learn the capabilities of each player, most of them virtually untested as the NBA level. Donatas Motiejunas, a 7-foot forward from Lithuania, averaged 16 points and 6.6 rebounds in Europe last year, and first-round picks Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones and Royce White begin their first training camps after playing for Houston’s summer-league team.

“We just have so many unknowns, so many guys who haven’t played with each other yet,” McHale said. “It’s hard to project what they’re going to do. But I would be shocked if we don’t play really hard and get after it.”

The Rockets have been trying for years to land a cornerstone superstar, and Morey spent most of his offseason trying to acquire Dwight Howard, who signed with the Lakers. Without a top-tier player, Houston may take its lumps this season.

At least for now, Parsons thinks everyone is prepared for that.

“We know who we are,” Parsons said. “We know our talent level, we know the talent level of the NBA, so we know we’re going to have to do all the little things most teams don’t want to do. We’re going to have to go out there and take charges, and outwork everybody.

“We don’t care about the expectations,” he said. “We’re cool with flying under the radar.”