With another Houston Rockets season wrapped up, the team looks to embark on a productive offseason to get the right pieces for another campaign.
The elimination of the 2019-20 Houston Rockets was a tough pill to swallow. Houston’s micro-ball lineup seemed like a fast track to the NBA championship. Unfortunately, the season came to an end at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals, and now the roster questions become a reality.
A lot of speculation is trending around Russell Westbrook and his future as a Rocket. What potential pieces can Houston obtain for him? Should James Harden be granted a trade? These are some of the common questions being asked from the Rockets faithful.
Let’s put these questions to rest because now the Houston Rockets have a tremendous trio to build around and should not be shopped. Here are the three guys the Rockets should keep safe from being shipped out this offseason.
James Harden is the Houston Rockets. Without a doubt, every decision the franchise has made since his arrival has been with him in mind. Houston has proved that they can build around Harden and make a run by almost eliminating the dominant 2017-18 Golden State Warriors.
Yes, James is approaching the twilight of his career currently at 31 years of age. He still shows no sign of slowing down, though, and can still be built around for the remaining two years of his contract.
An MVP finalist every year is something that should not be taken lightly and proves his prominent position among the other NBA superstars. As an elite finisher with spectacular scoring ability, perhaps he’ll find another aspect of his game unlocked with a new coaching staff on their way to the Toyota Center.
The popular consensus is to buy Russell Westbrook a one-way ticket out of Houston. That should not be the move this offseason. The biggest question mark going into this season was whether or not Harden and Westbrook can coexist. They answered this question with an emphatic yes.
Only these two men can keep each other in check because the chemistry is unshakable between them. Harden can yank Russell aside when he falls into technical foul trouble and keep him focused, and Westbrook can pick up James’ confidence when he appears shaken.
These two former Leauge MVPs have a special connection that should not have the plug pulled after one season. With a year under their belt as a dynamic backcourt, they should look to reload and start hot with a revamped coaching staff.
Westbrook struggled in the postseason, but that should not define him as a player. After nursing a quad injury for the entire playoffs and seeing his performance dip drastically, he will do what great players do, and that is bounce back.
Covington was an excellent mid-season acquisition for the Houston Rockets this year. Two years removed from being an All-NBA Defensive First Team selection, Covington still defends at the highest of levels.
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Before joining the team in February, the Rockets were not known for their defense. But since adopting the micro-ball gameplan, Covington injected a defensive mindset to the team that infected James Harden and opened up his ability to become a prominent defender even further.
If Houston can bring in a true center and Covington can play his original four spot full time, he is a great third option for the Houston Rockets. Along with his defending, he can also score from 3-point range.
With a new coaching staff coming to Houston, it will be fun to see how Covington’s role in the gameplan will be utilized because he can be a pivotal piece of the puzzle complementing Westbrook and Harden.
Establishing the trio of Harden, Westbrook, and Covington in the offseason would be a smart move. Build the team around these men, and you have a great core going into next season.