Rockets stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook have crazy usage rates
Russell Westbrook and James Harden are teammates once again after the Houston Rockets bid adieu to Chris Paul and his contract to go along with a bevy of picks, sending them the Oklahoma City Thunder’s way.
The Thunder continue to juice up their stash of future picks that could very well earn them the name “Pick City.” The popular sentiment among fans and experts alike even point to Paul being traded to another contender and, unless people are living under a rock, everyone knows what Sam Presti is going to demand in a potential deal.
Meanwhile, Houston injects itself with plenty of rocket fuel by adding Westbrook. The 2017 NBA Most Valuable Player is one of the game’s most prolific statistical beasts. For three straight seasons, the former UCLA Bruin registered triple-double averages.
The only person that came close to Westbrook’s barrage? James Harden.
Despite having no seasons of averaging a triple-double, Harden has had his fair share of stat-sheet busting performances, even logging a 60-point three-category marvel along the way.
Simply put, over the past half-decade, these two stars have been on a rampage that is unlike anything we’ve seen.
Over the last 5 seasons, Russell Westbrook and James Harden rank 1st and 2nd in usage rate. https://t.co/CXrerZiRYp
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 12, 2019
However, something’s got to give. Westbrook and Harden need the ball in their hands like LeBron James needing a fellow superstar by his side. One has to sacrifice but it’s going to be a coin toss between these two former MVPs.
Harden’s ex-backcourt partner in Paul only had usage rates of 24.5 and 22.5 in 2017-18 and 2018-19, respectively. A usage rate that is below 25 is an alien concept for Westbrook.
That said, while the pairing looks absolutely astonishing on paper, the fit leaves plenty of questions. It wouldn’t be about Harden and Westbrook only, but the onus is also on head coach Mike D’Antoni to reconstruct his offense to tailor the needs of the two massive egos in his team.
The Rockets will be a force in the Western Conference, but they will experience a bumpy ride to start off the season. They’ll go as far as James Harden and Russell Westbrook’s willingness to sacrifice takes them.