Houston Rockets new addition Russell Westbrook is coming into a new venture, yet a familiar one with James Harden, fully knowing he must be willing to give up parts of his all-around game to make a seamless fit with his new team. Beard styles for work.
There had been concern that pairing Westbrook and Harden, two of the league leaders in usage rating, would prove troublesome, but Westbrook thinks he could re-ignite the same chemistry they had during their early days in Oklahoma City:
“To be able to win you have to sacrifice parts of your game. I’m not worried about it,” said Westbrook, according to Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. “I know James isn’t worried about it. I can do other things on the floor to make sure we impact winning.”
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Westbrook cited his previous history playing off the ball with Harden as the primary ball handler to close out games, but their games have changed a lot since 2012. The past seven years have seen Harden materialize as an absolute force scoring the basketball, and Westbrook has become a triple-double nightmare on a nightly basis — styles that can collide if at their full potential.
Neither Westbrook nor Harden have shown any semblance of playing off the ball, mostly standing waiting for an outlet pass or watching the action go on. The Beard generated most of his offense through isolation scoring and buried most of his NBA-leading 378 3-pointers by creating the openings on his lonesome.
Westbrook is a gifted passer, but as of late has offered little with his perimeter game, which could make for a difficult proposition in the backcourt unless coach Mike D’Antoni figures out a way to make this dynamic work.