James Harden. Russell Westbrook. These are two names that many people associate with dominance in the NBA. Whether it is their insane ability to hit clutch shots, or slash any defender and drive to the hole — they can do it all! Recently, the Houston Rockets announced that they were going to trade Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook. Harden and Paul worked well together, but this is different. Chris Paul is used to working with and off the ball to get his teammates an open look, while James Harden is looking to score in any way that he can. The one potential problem is that Russ is the same way. He looks to score quite often, which could interfere with Harden’s game and possibly the overall performance of the team. Brodie (Westbrook) has an interesting personality. He is a trend-setting, stubborn, leader. He will lead his team but normally it has to be according to his plans.
Westbrook seems to be acting with a different mindset now that he is in Houston. In an interview yesterday he was asked about the possible problem with him and Harden playing with each other, he replied:
“We both understand that we have one common goal and that’s to win a championship. We understand what we have to do. I’m not worried about it, and I know James isn’t worried about it. I can play off the ball. I don’t have to touch the ball to impact the game. That’s the best way for me to come in and impact this team. I can do other things on the floor to make sure we have a better chance to win” (Yahoo Sports).
Two things are strange in that comment:
1.) Russell Westbrook normally doesn’t talk to the media in a serious, civilized fashion.
2.) The fact that he is talking about playing off the ball means that he will. He might have to adjust his game — but Russ seems like a man of his word.
There is a huge difference between talking about something and doing it –especially in sports! This might be a tactic to try and gain popularity, but let’s be honest: The real test will be when they play another huge Western Conference rival like Lakers, Clippers, or Nuggets.
What do you think? Will Russell Westbrook start playing more off the ball? And will Harden and Westbrook work good together next year?
Photo Credit:By Erik Drost from United States – Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38290339