Re-Hounited: Looking at James Harden, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the revitalized Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets have clearly been title contenders in the past few years, and now they’ve added the 2016-17 MVP Russell Westbrook to their roster alongside the 2017-18 MVP James Harden in a move that sees H-Town boasting of one of the deadliest backcourts in the NBA. Moreover, they did that without losing out on Clint Capela, PJ Tucker or Eric Gordon, losing one or more of those guys would have put them in a serious depth issue.
The move came after Paul George's unexpected trade to the Los Angeles Clippers in July. The Thunder received Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 and the right to swap first-rounders in 2021 and 2025 in exchange for Mr. Triple Double. This goes on to show that Houston Rockets are all-in and serious about contending for the 2019-20 NBA Championship.
To add to this, Rockets managed to re-sign Nene who will play back-up center to Clint Capela but is expected to share reserve roles with 19-year veteran Tyson Chandler who was acquired in free agency. Their experience will be critical for the path the Rockets are on.
In terms of support, Rockets have also added Anthony Bennett and Ben McLemore to their roster. The former No. 1 pick. Bennett is coming off a brilliant season in the G League where he was great from beyond the arc. McLemore, after unsuccessful stints with the Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies, now gets to be in a system, that can help him.
Coming back to Westbrook, he had astounding numbers with the Thunder, but also had the load of playmaking as he was not surrounded with a solid team who he could rely on to dish dimes. The Rockets roster is filled with shooters who you just need to find open and given that Westbrook has great court vision, I see H-Town getting a lot of open shots.
The ball is now in Mike D’Antoni’s court. He needs to come up with a formula to maximize the contribution from the two former MVPs he has and also find a way to make them play together.