Houston Rockets: Russell Westbrook to the Knicks is a win for both sides

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /
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Tom Thibodeau (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Tom Thibodeau (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Russell Westbrook might be the perfect fit for a Tom Thibodeau team

Russell Westbrook is at his best when he is the focal point of the team. In Houston, he was second in command behind James Harden and he wasn’t able to find his footing. The Rockets’ pivot to micro-ball was about making the team fit around Russell Westbrook.

The results for Westbrook were fantastic. In the 13 games before the season shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, Westbrook upped his scoring average from 26.3 points to 31 points per game, while increasing his shooting efficiency from 45.5 percent shooting to 52.5 percent.

The move to micro-ball saw Westbrook take an even larger share of the offense from James Harden, which is not a good strategy, even if Westbrook performed better. Sending Westbrook to New York would allow Houston to build an offense around their best player and give New York someone worth building around.

Westbrook’s finest season, when he won the MVP in 2016-17, he was a one-man offense for the Oklahoma City Thunder, which is reminiscent of Tom Thibodeau’s finest seasons.

Tom Thibodeau is the head coach of the New York Knicks because of what he was able to accomplish during his first two seasons in Chicago. Plucked from the Doc Rivers-led Boston Celtics as a defensive master, he instantly turned the Chicago Bulls into a title contender around the offensive skills of a young Derrick Rose.

Thibodeau led the Bulls to 112 games and snagged the top seed in the Eastern Conference, all behind an athletic do-it-all point guard who had a questionable 3-point shot.

Russell Westbrook, to be his best, needs to be the best player on his team. Tom Thibodeau, to be his best, needs a point guard who can create offense through a sheer force of will. The Knicks and the Rockets, as currently constructed, don’t provide either what they need to be their best. A simple phone call could change all of that.

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