Houston Rockets: Three pros and cons of the Russell Westbrook trade

Houston Rockets guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets made a bold move in an offseason full of change. Here are three pros and cons of the earth-shattering Russell Westbrook-CP3 trade.

Pro: Russell Westbrook is an MVP-type player.  Plain and simple. No matter how any Houston Rockets fans feel about Westbrook, everyone knows that his level of play is matched by only a few players in the entire league. Westbrook has averaged a triple-double over the last three seasons which is something no one else currently in the league has done. For the Houston Rockets to lose Chris Paul but then bring back a recent MVP, I’d say that’s a definite coup d’etat!

Pro: Chemistry will not be a huge problem.  Westbrook and James Harden are basically brothers, so this will not be an issue. Any concerns in regard to who has the ball will be figured out between those two prior to the start of the season.

Now on to the other players on the squad.  The chemistry for this team will be a non-factor.  Why?  The Houston Rockets roster is similar to this past season’s Oklahoma City Thunder lineup. However, the major difference between the two is that the Houston Rockets actually have shooters. Westbrook loves to drive and kick — he is a player that consistently draws two defenders and makes the correct pass to open shooters.

How about that?  The Rockets have shooters and they like to shoot! Additionally, Steven Adams and Clint Capela are essentially the same type of player as their rebounding/defensive traits are identical.  They’re not asked to score points but they can do so if the opportunity presents itself.  Chemistry is still something the Houston Rockets will have to build but I believe it will click early into the season.

Pro: The addition of Westbrook will improve the Houston Rockets rebounding immensely. This offseason, I have repeatedly stated that the Houston Rockets need to obtain a starting small forward. I have said this over and over again because one of the major issues with this team last year was rebounding.

And with Eric Gordon (6-foot-4) as the starting SF, the Houston Rockets were at a rebounding disadvantage almost every game. However, with Westbrook as the starting point guard, rebounding is no longer a huge concern going into this season. Yes, I do still believe the Houston Rockets need to acquire a 6-foot-8 type of SF but now that is less of a priority, as Westbrook will be grabbing a lot of the boards!

Con: The biggest negative I see from this entire trade is that the Houston Rockets are losing the one player that was not only big on ball movement but could also force it out on the court. Mike D’Antoni has fallen in love with Harden’s game. Because of this, he has been less focused on making sure the ball moves efficiently and has been more fixated on letting Harden do what he wants. This is the one thing that could easily make this trade a bad one.

Con: Last season, Harden (39.6) and Westbrook (30.1) were among tops in the league in terms of usage rate.  Harden was ranked No. 1 in 2018-19.  If the Houston Rockets walk out on the court with the same script as last season, by just allowing Harden and Westbrook to go one-on-one EVERY possession, it will not be a championship formula.

They may be really good during the regular season but just like last season, a team like the Golden

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State Warriors or one of the Los Angeles teams will have an edge on the Houston Rockets.  D’Antoni has to be better coach and force more ball movement, as well as creating more plays that allow others to be more involved. Furthermore, Harden and Westbrook have to make sure they buy into more ball movement if they want to win a championship.

Con:  Westbrook cannot shoot very well. Russell has the ability to make threes; but overall, he is not a great shooter. This past season, Westbrook shot 29 percent from three, which was the fourth time in five years he connected on fewer than 30 percent of his three-pointers.

This could really hurt the Rockets offense, especially in the playoffs. Westbrook will need to improve his three-point shooting, up to at least 33 percent, to allow the Rockets to flourish.

Next. Rockets: Why the Russell Westbrook trade will be a boon. dark

With the Rockets adding Westbrook, they are very much still in the conversation as one of the best teams in the West. However, the Houston Rockets will still have to make some additional roster moves if they want to win in this STACKED Western Conference.

What do you all think of the Houston Rockets trade for Westbrook?