James Harden and Russell Westbrook’s dominance for the Houston Rockets could lead to an impressive spot in the NBA history books by this season’s end.
It’s no secret that the Houston Rockets have been James Harden‘s team since he joined the club in 2012-13. In those seven-plus seasons, Houston has gone as far as The Beard has been able to take them every year behind his 29.6 points, 7.7 assists and 6.0 rebound per game average as a Rocket.
One thing that has been holding the Rockets back from greater playoff success, however, has been the lack of a second superstar player that could help relieve Harden both in terms of minutes and pressure when he may be struggling. This season, that appears to be changing with the arrival of Russell Westbrook.
Since Harden’s arrival in Houston, he’s never played alongside a teammate that averaged 20 or more points per game in a season. The most a teammate has averaged throughout his tenure was in 2017-18 when Chris Paul averaged 18.6 points per game.
After a slightly slow start to the season, Westbrook has now reeled off 28 straight 20-plus point games to bump his scoring average all the way up to 27.2 points per game. Not only does that make the Beard and the Brodie the only pair of teammates in the top 10 in the league in scoring at first and eighth, but it also sets them up for a much more impressive feat.
If Russ is able to continue to improve his scoring average to 30 points per game by the season’s end, he and Harden would be the first pair of teammates to average 30-plus in a season since Elgin Baylor and Jerry West did it for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1961-62 season.
Since the turn of the new year, Westbrook has shown every indication that he’s going to keep scoring at a torrid pace. In his 17 games played in January and February, he’s averaged 32.4 points per game on 52.2 percent shooting from the field.
We’ve seen what Mike D’Antoni and the Rockets were able to do in the playoffs when Chris Paul was having a stellar season as second fiddle to James, getting within one game of reaching the NBA Finals.
With someone as dominant as Russ now entering the fray and a revamped system, these Rockets are looking more and more likely to etch their names in the history books in more than one way come June.