Mike D’Antoni says he’s not going to try to change James Harden, Russell Westbrook
Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni isn’t concerned with how stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook will fit. The veteran coach said Friday that he will not tweak either of his former MVPs playing styles, and will mostly just let them play their own way:
MDA on possible adjustments: “I’m not going to change Russell or James. We’ll tweak something’s to see what we can do better, but I expect a lot of Russell and James coming at you”
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) July 19, 2019
It sounds like D’Antoni will let the two guards do what they have been doing their entire careers on the basketball court. Harden will continue to wreak havoc in isolation plays and pick-and-roll, and Westbrook will play the part as the one-man fast break. It doesn’t appear as if D’Antoni is worried about how the two will mesh when they take the floor together for the first time in seven years.
Pundits have raised the question on whether Westbrook will be a better fit for the Rockets than Chris Paul was. Optimists say that Westbrook is a younger, faster athlete who is far less injury-prone than Paul. At the very least, you’ll have another All-Star on the floor more consistently. Detractors say that Westbrook’s poor three-point shooting and ball-dominant style will shrink the floor for the Rockets and take the ball out of their best player’s hands more often.
Count D’Antoni as a member of the former group. The coach expects the duo to both be able to play their games and coexist together on the floor. We’ll have to wait for the regular season to see if he is correct.