The Houston Rockets’ 2020-21 season has been marred with trials and tribulations off the court, as the team has seen a litany of scandals in a relatively short period of time. The Rockets’ first issue came prior to the start of the season when James Harden decided not to show up to training camp, opting for an event-filled weekend of partying and clubbing in Atlanta and Las Vegas instead.
Harden told first-year Rockets coach Stephen Silas that he would come to Houston to do a private workout, which never happened. After eventually arriving, he attended a Christmas party inside of a strip club, leaving Silas to answer for Harden’s behavior.
The Rockets’ strip club woes reached an entirely different level on Sunday night, as 26-year-old guard Sterling Brown was savagely attacked at the Booby Trap on the Bayou nightclub in Miami, shortly after the team defeated the Orlando Magic. The assault has been described as a potentially life-threatening incident, as Brown was struck multiple times in the head with a bottle, prompting Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. to intervene to defend and/or protect his teammate.
Houston Rockets fiasco shows importance of Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook
Both incidents garnered the attention of the NBA’s front office, as they were each clear violations of commissioner Adam Silver’s COVID protocol, which forbids players from attending bars, strip club, and entertainment venues. The incidents have also proven the value and importance of former Houston Rockets stars Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, who both have a commitment to the game of basketball that resembles Michael Jordan and the late great Kobe Bryant.
Paul is viewed as one of the greatest players in NBA history at his position and has a history of drastically turning around franchises. Paul has never been one to frequent the party scene, in part because of his preferred interest in spending time with his family, which is understandable.
Because of Paul’s leadership, there has never been any situation similar to what the Rockets have dealt with this season among the 5 teams that he’s played for. Paul has demonstrated the ability to lead by example, regardless of whether he’s on an old team or a relatively younger team like the 2019-20 Oklahoma City Thunder, which is an invaluable trait.
Speaking of the Thunder, OKC Thunder legend Russell Westbrook is DEFINITELY not one that would have allowed such an incident to happen on his watch. In fact, we’d heard the legendary story of how Westbrook wanted former Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni to start a film session in the bubble without James Harden, who didn’t show up on time.
Westbrook was described as having had a militant approach during his reign in OKC, as the former MVP and scoring champion demanded the highest standards of his teammates. Westbrook’s leadership is a primary reason why the Wizards, who were 25-47 last season, have won 7 consecutive games and are on on track to make the play-in tournament. Westbrook has carried inferior teams of younger players and had thrived as the elder statesmen in multiple stops.
Although both Paul and Westbrook had short stints in Houston and had even worse endings, their leadership is something that simply can’t be replaced. And it would have been a significant benefit to a young Rockets team like the one that’s taken the court in 2020-21.