The Houston Rockets made a big splash in the offseason by reuniting Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Chris Paul is now in OKC and Houston has possibly the best backcourt on paper in the league. However, chemistry issues may be a problem as both guards are ball dominant and will need time to have success. It’s anybody’s guess as to who takes charge but this could become another Chris Paul situation if things don’t get sorted out fast. It almost seems as if the roster was constructed with the best available talent without any thought of how they would fit together.
After spending his entire career in Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook will bring his talents to the Rockets. He’s a multi-dimensional guard who’s got the ability to do a bit of everything and played heavy as the star for the Thunder. He would’ve been won his second MVP had it not been for Giannis Anteotekoumpo’s equally brilliant year. He’ll bring an impressive resume for the Rockets as he averaged a triple-double in his past three seasons. While it’s hard to imagine producing at that same rate, Westbrook will provide solid value and should be close to a double-double with high single digit stats in the third category.
After failing to repeat as MVP, James Harden will be on a mission to lead his team to another playoff run. With the Warriors dynasty now dismantled, Houston might finally have a chance at securing a spot in the NBA Finals. That road will start with Harden who will certainly have to put up 30+ points like he has in the past two years. With apparently a new step back move in store this year, Harden will look to be a dangerous offensive threat both in the shooting department and his ability to get to the free throw line. While adding Westbrook to the team will limit his touches, there’s no doubt Harden is one of the best offensive threats and extremely effective when he has the ball.
With Westbrook coming over from the Thunder, James Harden will move back to the shooting guard position and force Eric Gordon to play the small forward spot. While this isn’t a good look for defense as Gordon rates as a very undersized forward, he provides another great shooting threat on offense. That works perfectly for the Rockets who run one of the league's best offenses and will look to put up threes whenever they can. Gordon’s presence at the SF spot will give them a 36% shooter from behind the arc and a prolific scorer for the Rockets. Whenever Westbrook or Harden drive, look for Gordon to be a huge threat from three point range.
P.J. Tucker will project as the starter at power forward though he only played there for just the past two years. He’s a great energy guy for Houston and will look to be one again this season. While he’s not going to get a bunch of shot attempts each game, he won’t look to be a scorer but will be a constant starter and good overall player. Look for him to score 6-7 hustle points along with grabbing a few rebounds each game.
Lastly, Clint Capela will suit up as the starting center as he looks to build off a career year. Last season, he averaged 16.6 points and 12.7 rebounds though saw his minutes diminish during crunch time due to his inability to defend. While he’s a very young center with the ability to score and rebound, he lacks defensive abilities that make him useful for the offensive heavy Rockets. Expect a similar usage for Capela this season as he’ll make another dangerous threat for Houston. He’ll play close to the basket as he struggles with shooting from range and the free throw line.