The Rockets have been in the news of late for the small-ball schematic change they’ve recently turned to after trading Clint Capela. Much of what we’ve heard from the national audience has been negativity, although the Rockets have gone 5-2 since making the trade.
On top of that, the Rockets went 10-1 without Capela prior to the trade, which surely made it a much easier decision to trade him and go all-in on the small-ball strategy. We hadn’t heard Fertitta’s comments on the trade or the small ball scheme up until now.
“We basically changed out a guy who’s 6-10 to a guy who’s 6-7, 6-8,” he said. “Are you really that much smaller? It makes the big guy for the other team go out on the perimeter. Did you see Rudy Gobert trying to keep up with Russell? Russell was running him around like crazy. It’s working.”
Fertitta’s comments are in line with what Rockets’ fans have stated, as the Rockets really didn’t get smaller. Sure, they sacrificed two inches, but they’ve already appeared to have gotten a better shot blocker in Robert Covington, as he’s averaging an insane 2.6 blocks per game with the Rockets and has the versatility to defend on the perimeter or in the post.
On top of that, he’s a career 35.8 percent shooter which has allowed the Rockets to spread the floor and has given Russell Westbrook the necessary space to dominate in the paint. This was brilliant on the Rockets’ part as Westbrook is the most athletic point guard we’ve ever seen in NBA history, and is simply unstoppable as it pertains to getting to the rim.
Fertitta mentioned the mismatch the Rockets have exploited against Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who is perceived as the best defensive player in the league. During the Rockets recent victory against the Jazz, Westbrook had 34 points and a true shooting percentage of 61.2 percent. On top of that, Russ had a field goal percentage of 53.8 percent, which is yet another example of how Westbrook was simply too much for Gobert.
Gobert isn’t the only elite defensive big man who has been dominated by Russ, as Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis was gashed four games prior to the most recent Jazz matchup.
Westbrook scored 41 points on 60.7 percent and was able to impose his will on AD with ease in front of a national audience.
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