What does a championship roster look like?
Teams that win a title have to have an MVP-caliber player who is surrounded by at least two other All-Star caliber players. The hard part, for most teams, is finding that MVP-caliber player, but the Rockets have had that since the moment Harden arrived.
The problem for the Rockets hasn’t been finding a second guy to run next to Harden, but finding that third key contributor. The core of Harden, Paul, and Capela fit that bill, but both have seen themselves shipped out of Houston to first acquire and then get the best out of Russell Westbrook.
The problem for the Rockets going forward is that Westbrook doesn’t look to be an All-Star caliber player anymore. How? He just averaged 27.2 points! Counterpoint, he also averaged 22.5 shots. .2 more than the 22.3 James Harden averaged on his way to 34.3 PPG.
Westbrook’s effective field goal percentage was 49.3 percent., which saw him tied with Alec Burks. You’re not winning a title with Alec Burks taking more shots than James Harden.
The Rockets are likely stuck with Westbrook, so they have to hope he can turn it around. Their move to micro ball lineups made Westbrook a far more efficient player, but that still leaves them an All-Star short of being a real title team.
Next: Who can be the Rockets' third star?