Russell Westbrook – Brake Pads
Russell Westbrook is, without question, one of the most passionate and fierce players in the association. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, on his face, in his shoes and everywhere in between. Russell’s endless motor is what has made him a superstar in the league.
That said, even the highest-end vehicles should take breaks from going 120 miles per hour. Russell Westbrook clearly has the talent to lead a team deep in the playoffs, but his hyperactive nature has gotten the best of him often in crucial playoff situations in the past.
Westbrook has learned to play within himself as the season has gone on with the Rockets, but we’ve still yet to see what his decision-making will look like when the real pressure is on in a close game.
Westbrook and Harden are clearly the anchors of the team and will be counted on to make the biggest plays when they matter most of all. If Russell has flashbacks to his Thunder days and tries to force things in the playoffs, the Rockets won’t like the result.
James Harden – The 10,000 Chips on his Shoulder
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Is there anyone in the NBA that has more to prove than James Harden? For years, he’s led the Houston Rockets to superior seasons only to see the team fizzle out in the playoffs.
While some of the criticisms The Beard has received in the past are warranted, there are plenty out there that aren’t.
Harden has been ridiculed for everything from his tendency to seek fouls to his shot selection to his overall style of play.
By now, the result of such bashing from the media and NBA fanbases at large for years has to have taken some toll on James.
What’s good about Harden and Westbrook is how they know how to drown out all the noise, but there’s no doubt that they each have a sizable chip on their shoulder in the shape of a Larry O’Brien trophy.
Harden has already shown he’s dedicated to finishing the season off right — leading the Rockets to a title will not only destroy the chip off his own shoulder but the entire city of Houston’s as well.