Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni expects to have either James Harden or Russell Westbrook on the floor at all times
James Harden and Russell Westbrook have been reunited in Houston. At this point, it’s not clear how well the two stars will perform together, but Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni says he is planning to have one of them on the floor at all times in the coming season:
#Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni on Russ and Harden. “One will be on the floor at all times, as usual.”
— Stefano Fusaro (@FusaroESPN) September 27, 2019
Westbrook joined the Rockets on July 16 as part of a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. By most accounts, the eight-time All-Star is a solid addition to the team’s roster. The only question is: will there be enough shots to go around?
As part of Friday’s media availability, D’Antoni noted that he isn’t planning on changing Westbrook’s style of play:
“We need Russell to be Russell,” D’Antoni said, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “You don’t want to change him. He’s an MVP.”
Russell has been on a tear the last few seasons. In fact, the former No. 4 overall pick has averaged a triple-double in each of the last three campaigns.
In his 73 appearances with the Thunder last season (all starts), Westbrook racked up averages of 22.9 points on 42.8 percent shooting from the field (29.0 percent from beyond the arc), 11.1 rebounds, a career-high 10.7 assists and 1.9 steals in 36.0 minutes per outing.
If Harden and Westbrook mesh well, Rockets fans will likely be in for another postseason push. Last season, Houston saw its playoff run come to an end in the second round at the hands of the Golden State Warriors once again.