The Houston Rockets will enter the 2019-20 season with one outstanding question surrounding them: will two high-usage players like James Harden and Russell Westbrook fit in the same offense?

According to Harden, this new partnership will be less of a learning curve than past ones. Despite their seven years apart since he was dealt to the Rockets, The Beard says his longtime relationship with Westbrook is a different type of excitement to take the court together for the first time since 2012:

“We’ve formed into the players that we want to be, in terms of superstar status,” Harden told Alex Shultz of GQ Magazine. “We had opportunities to be at the top, at the peak; he won an MVP and I won an MVP. And there were conversations before, when me and Chris [Paul] joined the same team about whether it was going to work. We ended up with the best record in the NBA and were a game away from the Finals.

“It’s not like me and Russ were just teammates in Oklahoma City for three years. We’ve known each other since we were 10 years old. There’s a different kind of relationship and communication that we have, a different type of excitement that we have for each other. We don’t really care or pay attention to what other people say or think.”

Harden had a similar “we'll figure it out” approach when talks of Paul and him arose, yet their venture together lasted only two seasons, the last of which was engulfed in flames at the end of the postseason when he and Paul reportedly had a heated argument in the wake of a second straight elimination at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.

Hope is that his relationship with Brodie is good enough to avoid these types of conflicts through a long 82-game season and the consequent playoff run that's expected of them.