Now that the Houston Rockets have made their big offseason moves, some questions around the team and their potential still remain.
Even though the Rockets just acquired Russell Westbrook through a point guard swap with Chris Paul, are their offensive problems solved? Another question is will James Harden and Westbrook have the same relationship they had in Oklahoma City? Can Mike D’Antoni handle the egos of Harden and Westbrook? There are speculations that Coach D’Antoni not making adjustments in last season’s playoffs against the Golden State Warriors.
For right now, the city of Houston is extremely excited to have Russell Westbrook. Everyone knows what Westbrook brings to the table. Westbrook is arguably the best athletic point guard this league has ever seen. He has averaged a triple-double in three consecutive seasons, became an eight time All-Star and he won the MVP in 2017. Also in 2017, he passed up Oscar Roberson for the most triple-doubles in a season with 42.
The main concern is his shot selection, shooting percentage, and knowing if he will take a step back. Westbrook has been booted out of the postseason in the first round in three consecutive seasons. He has not advanced to the second round since Kevin Durant‘s departure for OKC in 2016. This past season, Westbrook shot 29 percent from three-point range which caused him to struggle from the field. In order to thrive in Houston’s offense, Westbrook is going to have to shoot more efficiently from three-point range.
In Harden’s final season with the Thunder, he not only won the Sixth Man of the Year Award, but he also helped Westbrook and Durant lead OKC to the 2012 Finals. While the duo has been separated for seven years, they have both taken their games to the next level. Both Harden and Westbrook have made deep playoff runs and taken home an MVP Award in their time apart. They’ve also grown into very ball-dominant players, and it isn’t clear how they will co-exist together on the floor.
After Houston’s disappointing defeat in the playoffs, D’Antoni appeared to be on the hot seat, especially after the Rockets couldn’t capitalize against a Warriors team that was without it’s best player in the final two games of the series.
Contract negotiations for an extension between D’Antoni and the Rockets stalled this summer. The two sides never reached an agreement, so D’Antoni will play out the final year of his contract next season.
Hopefully, Rockets fans get what they want this year. People in Houston are tired of the Rockets shenanigans and want results. The city of Houston needs another championship and everyone hopes Westbrook improves this year’s chances.