2. Average at least 10 rebounds per game
One area where Houston desperately needs to improve on heading into next season is rebounding. Last year, the Rockets averaged just 42.1 total rebounds per game, the third least in the NBA. They also averaged 31.9 defensive rebounds per game, which was the second lowest mark in the league.
There’s nothing more deflating for a team than playing great defense and forcing a miss, only to give up an offensive rebound for an easy layup. The inability to clean the glass, along with having only one shot blocker on the team, are two of the biggest reasons why the Rockets gave up 51.8 points per game in the paint last season, the third most in the league.
While Russell Westbrook may not be a shot blocker, he can definitely help out on the boards. Westbrook has averaged double-digit rebounds (and a triple double) in three consecutive seasons, an impressive feat for 6’3″ guard. In fact, Westbrook is the only player at his height in NBA history and one of just two point guards (Oscar Robertson) to average double-digit rebounds for an entire season.
Russell Westbrook’s ability to rebound at this level also means he can grab the ball off the board and lead the fast break without having to wait for an outlet pass. This means he can get into the open floor more often and create easy opportunities in transition. This will also be a big boost for a Rockets team that averaged just 12 fast break points per game last year, while the Thunder averaged 18.2. Expect to see Houston run in transition a lot more often next season.
Next: No. 1