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How Stephen Silas’ will get the best out of the Rockets

Houston Rockets James Harden Russell Westbrook (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden Russell Westbrook (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets James Harden Russell Westbrook (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

A Harden and Westbrook pick and roll could be the league’s best

A wrinkle that Silas would be wise to add is a pick and roll that features both Harden and Westbrook. A traditional pick and roll usually features a frontcourt player setting a screen for a guard but that convention should be shattered here.

In micro ball, Westbrook was essentially deployed as the Rockets’ center on offense. His role was to get to the rim and either finish or kick it out. If Westbrook’s shot diet is going to look like a center’s, why not have him set a few screens and roll to the rim on occasion?

The play will lead to either an easy shot for Harden or Westbrook, which should be the guiding principle of the Rockets offense anyway. The novelty of the play will only increase the difficulty of defending it.

Christian Wood wasn’t brought in just to set screens, he is a dangerous 3-point shooter that teams have to respect. A pick and roll between Harden and Westbrook will lead to wide-open threes for Wood and PJ Tucker or easy lay-ins for Westbrook and Harden.

Setting screens is dirty work, which means this combination should be used sparingly, but it’s an imaginative way to get the best out of the Rockets’ two best players. NBA superstars might not be the greatest general managers but they know what works on the court and what doesn’t.

If a Harden and Westbrook pick and roll leads to easy points then it’ll go a long way in earning respect for the Rockets’ new coach. The pick and roll isn’t revolutionary but when you have two of the best players in the league you really just need an offense that gives them a chance to be at their best, and that’s exactly what it provides.

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Stephen Silas needs to know which pick and roll combinations work best and he needs to know quickly. Figuring out which combinations to feature at the start of the season will help the Rockets blitz unprepared opponents in the early going and will build confidence among the players that he is the right man for the job.

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