Rockets GM Daryl Morey addresses possibility of load managing James Harden, Russell Westbrook
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey noted he might try to indulge in some load management for his star duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, as both players are now at the point of their careers in which they should save some legs for the playoffs:
#Rockets GM Daryl Morey when asked about load management for Russell Westbrook and James Harden: “Yeah, it always is (part of the strategy). We try not to label it….Yeah, it’ll be a very put together plan by our staff throughout the season to have our guys peak in April.” pic.twitter.com/CKFHzK3ssz
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) July 30, 2019
Harden, 29, has never been a fan of getting less playing time than he thinks he should get, and neither has he been a proponent of sitting out games. Despite being a high-usage player who mostly relies on his isolation talents, The Beard has never missed more than 10 games in any of his seven seasons with Clutch City. However, he has had a reputation for wearing down in the playoffs, which could be due to the high-tilt usage in the regular season.
Westbrook, 30, has had a similar record since coming back from a knee procedure during the 2013-14 season. He played in 80 games or more from 2015-16 to 2017-18 — missing only five games in the span of three seasons, though only playing in 73 during his last campaign.
Harden was only second to Bradley Beal in minutes played this past season (2,870), which eventually rocketed to 3,294 minutes by the end of the postseason. That kind of run should warrant some care by the Rockets’ training staff, and Morey should make that known from the onset to set the expectations moving forward.