James Harden ‘excited to go into war’ with ‘a killer’ in Russell Westbrook
With Harden and Westbrook in the fold, the Rockets are the only team in the NBA with two MVPs on the roster. Harden can’t wait to go to battle with Westbrook, especially once the playoffs start, via Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:
There will be an adjustment period, “a lot of ups and downs” through the regular season, Harden concedes. “But I’m more excited to go into war, postseason, with somebody that is, like, a dog,” he says. “Somebody that’s a killer, for real.”
Because James Harden and Russell Westbrook are ball-dominant players, many pundits believe the Rockets are going to turn into a “my turn, your turn” type of offense. That type of basketball usually struggles to work in the NBA once the playoffs start. Needless to say, both superstars are going to have to make adjustments for this to work in Houston, but Harden is confident it will all work out in the end.
A case can be made the Rockets should make Westbrook the full-time point guard and Harden the full-time shooting guard. Westbrook is more explosive than Harden and can break defenses down by attacking the basket with his elite speed, which will free up Harden for wide-open looks from the perimeter.
Westbrook isn’t a reliable shooter from the 3-point line. Teams are likely going to be content with leaving Westbrook open from deep if Harden collapses the defense on his drives to the hoop. The one thing the Rockets have going for them is they have surrounded Westbrook and Harden with shooters such as Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon, Gerald Green and PJ Tucker (from the corner). There should be a good amount of driving lanes for Westbrook and Harden to attack as a result.
Harden has led the NBA in scoring the past two seasons, while Westbrook has averaged a triple-double three seasons in a row. Opposing teams are going to have nightmares trying to figure out how to stop the Rockets on offense, especially once Harden and Westbrook figure out how to complement one another efficiently.