This off-season has been nothing short of crazy, with so many stars moving teams, and the NBA completely reshaping before the 2019-2020 season. One of the biggest and most surprising moves had to be the Russell Westbrook trade. After Paul George was traded from the Thunder to the Clippers, Russell Westbrook who we know as one of the most loyal players in the league, was open to being traded to a contender. Russell Westbrook was traded to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul and draft picks. Now Westbrook has rejoined old teammate James Harden in Houston. Can this duo work out well, or will it be a complete failure?
When these two were teammates in Oklahoma City, James Harden was a completely different player. He was a young sixth man, and not a star. James gets traded to the Rockets and fast forward a few years and he is an MVP. Harden has been in the MVP conversation for the last 3 years, and has won it once. Westbrook, who had a down year, won MVP the year before Harden did, and we all know how dominant Russ can be. In what is now a duos league, having two top 10 players is a very successful advantage for the Rockets.
Of course there are pros and cons to every duo, and this new Houston back court might be the most make or break one in the league. The big issue is that both Harden and Westbrook are both very ball dominant. They are both in the top 15 in usage rate, and love to be involved in their teams offense. They take a lot of dribbles, and control the game more than a lot of others. This could be a problem if they can’t share the ball with each other, or with their teammates. Harden and Westbrook rank first and second in turnovers, which can lead to them both giving the ball away too much and losing possessions and hurt their team. So there’s a chance this dynamic due doesn’t live up to the hype.
However, there is a reason we call these two superstars … so what is the potential for Harden and Russ? James Harden is arguably the hardest player to guard in the whole league, and Russell Westbrook can take over any game with his speed, strength, and countless triple doubles. If Harden and Westbrook can share the ball with each other, and not share the ball too much with the other team, they can go a long way. These two together have championship potential for the Rockets, but if they don’t mesh then it could go up in flames.