The Rockets went out and added more starpower by getting Russell Westbrook. They realized they had to get better and found a way to get younger at the position while shedding the albatross of Chris Paul’s contract. Here’s what I believe the Rockets will definitely need to minimize with a Westbrook/Harden pairing.
Russell Westbrook and James Harden will be a great tandem for the Rockets. As I wrote earlier, I have them as the best pairing of all of the newly formed duos going into the season.
They are also the reason FiveThirtyEight has the Rockets picked to win the West. But there’s one thing about the Harden/Westbrook pairing that does concern me a tad bit: turnovers. Westbrook and Harden have each finished top 2 in the league in turnovers in each of the last 4 years. What’s more troublesome is the fact that both Harden and Westbrook have each broke the record for turnovers set back in 1975. To be fair though, neither of them have surpassed that mark since the 2017 season, in which they both broke the record.
This is partly why I believe this will change. In fact, it could be as simple as playing alongside one another as it will take the ball out of each of their hands as much as they’ve been accustomed to. I also agree that Westbrook being surrounded by as many shooters as the Rockets have will also keep him from dribbling so deep in the shot clock as well. There will be many catch and shoot opportunities behind the arc for Westbrook to facilitate as defenses will certainly collapse when Brodie drives into the paint. The Rockets could cut down their isolation heavy play, which has definitely been a reason for a lot of Harden’s turnovers.
So I’m thinking and hoping the turnover issue will be resolved but it is something I’m worried about regarding the Westbrook/Harden pairing.