Houston Rockets: 3 things Russell Westbrook does better than Chris Paul
Unfortunately for Chris Paul, his two-year tenure in Houston was mired by injuries. Paul missed 15 of his first 16 regular season games as a Rocket due to injury. Then, in the 2018 Western Conference Finals against the Warriors, Paul pulled his right hamstring in Game 5 as Houston took a 3-2 series lead. The Rockets eventually lost the series without Paul, leaving the Rockets wondering if Paul’s injury cost the team a championship.
In the 2018-19 season, Paul missed a total of 24 games again and sat out for a little over a month between December and January. The team had to be very cautious with his minutes in the regular season, which put a lot more pressure on Harden to carry the offense.
As the old saying goes, “sometimes the best ability is availability,” and that holds true for Russell Westbrook. Russ never missed a game over the first five seasons of his career (the 2011-12 season was shortened to 66 games due to the lockout). Russ then struggled with injuries between 2013 and 2015, but has never missed more than eight games in any of the last four seasons.
In short, the Rockets can count on Westbrook to play four or five more minutes per game than Paul and stay healthy for the season and for the duration of a deep playoff run. That alone, along with his other talents, should have the Rockets feeling better about their chances when the real season starts in April.