1. The duo of James Harden & Russell Westbrook
It should not be a surprise that the main reason I have the Rockets making the Finals is due to their superstar backcourt. The Beard and Brodie have proven to all the doubters that they can re-create the magic chemistry they had back in their younger days with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Critics believed Westbrook and Harden would struggle to co-exist, due to how ball-dominant each player is. But, they were wrong. Harden is leading the league in scoring once again, averaging just over 34 points per game, to go along with 7.4 assists and 6.4 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Westbrook is averaging 27.5 points, seven assists, and eight rebounds per game. It’s also worth noting that Russ is shooting a career-high 47 percent from the field.
This is due, in part, to the Rockets’ offensive style that many struggle to keep up with. It’s not a secret the Rockets are playing small ball now, which has helped Russ and Harden get easy shots and create for the open perimeter 3-pointers.
It was also evident in the scrimmage games that James Harden is starting to move around off-the-ball for the betterment of the team. This is important, but it seems to be going over the heads of many.
Harden is known for his offensive skill when the ball is in hands, so his movement off the ball helps the team’s flow. The weight loss for Harden has seemed to make him a little quicker, without risking his strength that he uses to attack the rim and draw contact.
Although, unfortunately, Russell Westbrook tested positive for COVID-19, it seems as if Brodie hasn’t lost a single step. Don’t let a couple of opinionated lists brainwash you, Russ is still a superstar and a top 10-15 player in the association.
Look for the Beard and Brodie to take the league by storm in Orlando.