The Houston Rockets were able to pull off a trade with Oklahoma City, Thunder, that allow them to unload Chris Paul’s massive contract. In return, they received Russell Westbrook, who is more athletic and younger than Paul.
The Rockets are looking to take the next step to reach the Finals this upcoming season after losing in back to back season to the Golden State Warriors. During the 2017-18 season, Houston was one win away from the Finals, but an injury to Chris Paul would derail their hopes of reaching the Finals for the first time since 1995. This past season, they would come up short again, this time in the Western Conference Semi-Finals against the Warriors after six games.
With the pairing of Westbrook and Harden, former Rocket, Cuttino Mobley would like to see James control the ball and Westbrook play off the ball this season.
“I would prefer James controlling the ball and Russell being an off guard, because he’s very dangerous I would think in that off-guard position,” said Mobley in an interview with Fanatics View. “It’s more going downhill and attacking guys.”
Hall of Famer and Rocket great Clyde Drexler thinks that the two former teammates will be an excellent tandem.
‘I think they are going to be a really good tandem, but they are going to miss Chris’ leadership and the steady influence he had on the team. Russell brings a dynamic of transition and quickness and it is going to be awesome. Westbrook and Harden have played together before and are good friends. So, I don’t think they will have any chemistry problems and hopefully, they will bring it all the way home,” Drexler told me.
Russell Westbrook is coming off his third straight season, averaging a triple-double with 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 10.9 assists per game last season for the Thunder.
Recently, Russell’s former teammate Enes Kanter, while a guest on First Things First stated that, Westbrook was the best teammate he ever played with.
“Russell Westbrook was the best player I’ve played with. … He’s not just the best player, the best teammate I’ve had off the court,” said Kanter.
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) August 28, 2019
That is high praise for Westbrook consider Kanter has played with a lot of players, such as Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, C.J McCollum, Andre Roberson, Victor Oladipo, and Taj Gibson to name a few.
As for James Harden, the 2017- 2018 MVP averaged 36.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and finished second in the MVP voting behind Giannis Antetokounmpo. Not to the liking of former NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas, who feel Giannis didn’t deserve the MVP award last season.
I’m just going to be blunt! I don’t think he should have one it this year because there is not that he did this year that gave him MVP. The reason I say that is because he averaged 27 and ten last year and 27 and 12 this year and shot worse from the free-throw line this season. His impact didn’t do anything; it’s the team I felt got better.
They add depth to their roster with Lopez and other offensive pieces to help spread the floor. Giannis didn’t do anything different, while the team got better, and they won more games. That shouldn’t be the criteria for MVP. I didn’t win an MVP, but I was mention in the race because my team got better. Now, on the other hand, you have a guy, who won last year averaging 30 points, and then he averaged 36 this year.
He gave everyone the thought that this team could compete for an NBA Championship and his output this year was better than last year. He is not a guy who hid between a record. It is not Gianni’s fault, but you averaged 27 points and ten, do the same thing this year, but your team wins 15 more games this season. So, it is obviously not you.