Mike D’Antoni wonders if ‘Russ-sanity’ is coming to Rockets
Up until this point, there are still more than a few folks who are questioning what type of chemistry James Harden and Russell Westbrook will have for a new-look Houston Rockets side. For his part, head coach Mike D’Antoni appears to be confident that this new partnership will work.
As a matter of fact, the veteran coach even hinted at Westbrook’s potential return to his MVP-winning form a couple of years ago where he averaged a mind-boggling triple-double of 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.4 assists throughout the season.
The Rockets coach even invoked Jeremy Lin, who broke out while playing for D’Antoni on the New York Knicks:
“So we’re gonna have Russ-sanity?” D’Antoni asks, via Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated.
Nevertheless, one thing D’Antoni and the rest of his coaching staff will need to address is Westbrook’s struggles from last season. While he still averaged a triple-double with the Oklahoma City Thunder, it was obvious that something just wasn’t right with Russ last year.
For one, the eight-time All-Star had trouble with isolation plays. This is something that the Rockets — James Harden in particular — have utilized extensively, so Westbrook will have his fair share of isolation situations with his new squad. Coach D’Antoni tried to provide an explanation to Westbrook’s uncharacteristic dip in form:
“Well, hopefully the reason was that the floor was a little closed,” D’Antoni says of Westbrook’s isolation blues. “We hope that’s it.” Then comes the smirk. “Now, if he’s just bad at it, what the hell did y’all give him the MVP for?”
No matter how things play out, there is no doubt that the Rockets will be one of the most intriguing teams to watch next season. This new partnership between Harden and Westbrook can very easily go in either direction, but if all goes according to plan, Houston should be a legitimate title contender this campaign.