Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni will stagger Russell Westbrook and James Harden, with two of Harden, Westbrook and Eric Gordon on the floor
Both Harden and Westbrook are ball-dominant players. The two MVPs will obviously start and finish games together, but D’Antoni plans to let one star run the offense at different points in the game, while the other star rests on the bench.
Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said after the game that he'll be staggering Harden and Westbrook but will always try to have two of Harden, Westbrook and Eric Gordon on the floor this season.
— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) October 10, 2019
James Harden and Russell Westbrook have the highest usage rates in NBA history over the past few seasons. Neither All-Star is an effective off-ball player, something the Rockets are wrestling with.
By staggering their minutes, the Rockets will always have one guy on the floor to run the offense and be the primary scorer. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr often times staggered Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.
Westbrook has averaged a triple-double three seasons in a row, while Harden has led the league in scoring the past two seasons. The Rockets will certainly need Russ and Harden to adjust their games for this partnership to work, but it looks like Houston has already made up its mind that staggering their minutes is the best course of action.
Having Eric Gordon on the floor means there will always be a shooter for Westbrook or Harden to work with for the Rockets. That will create more driving lanes for the two superstars since Gordon is a stout 3-point shooter.