Houston Rockets: Russell Westbrook’s thoughts on Mike D’Antoni’s system

Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Russell Westbrook was officially introduced as the Houston Rockets newest acquisition yesterday. How does he feel about the new system? Let’s look.

The Houston Rockets have catapulted themselves back into the conversation as one of the best teams of the NBA by throwing a Hail Mary of move in acquiring the services of dynamic guard Russell Westbrook.

Yes, this is a Hail Mary pass because although we’re optimistic things will work between the two, nobody really knows if it will with the exception of Westbrook and James Harden.  Nonetheless, these two guys are really good friends so I’m sure they’re going to do everything they can to tailor their games to accommodate each other.

There will be a lot of deferrals when the ball is brought up the court but I think they’ll have it down once they have a month of a season under the belts as to how to execute plays for two ball-dominant guards.

Although I would’ve been okay it, it would’ve been borderline unacceptable for the Houston Rockets to bring the same team that they had last year.  It’s a slippery slope with that concept and there’s no way to gauge that the same results yielded in the season previous will be the same for the next.

I would think that it would be unlikely.  Teams would have a multitude of game film on the team and they’d be prepared for what likely would be the predictable strategy — lots of Harden isolation and the rest of the four players parked around the three-point line.  Opponents figured it out and they knew if they shut down Harden and find a way to cool off the team’s other shooters, it would stymie the Houston Rockets‘ chances of winning games.

That’s exactly what happened against the Golden State Warriors — not every game though — and it’s one of the myriads of reasons as to why this team couldn’t get over the hump.

But with Westbrook back in the fold, it’s going to throw defenses off each game with what Mike D’Antoni decides to run and I know he’s as giddy as could be with Brodie the newest tool among his vast arsenal of weapons.

Here’s what Westbrook had to say about the new system via ESPN’s Royce Young (h/t to Mark Suleymanov of Hoops Rumors):

"“I’ll fit right in, personally. Floor spread, it gives me the opportunity to attack, penetrate, kick. Defensively, it’ll give me an opportunity to switch and guard and rebound at a high level. Push the break, get us out on the break. A lot of different things. I think the style of play is great, something I’m looking forward to, just getting out in space in the open floor, shooters all around and playing that way.”"

Westbrook is absolutely correct and it’s going to be fantastic to watch.  As I’ve said previously, expect more isolation from both him and Harden throughout the season.  Defenses won’t know which guy D’Antoni will run it out of.  Either way, this offense now has the ability to make the other team pay if their isolation draws a double team.

I could see it now — Westbrook would be the decoy, drawing the double team and he can either dish to a patiently awaiting Harden, an eager P.J. Tucker in the corner of the three-point line or an energized Clint Capela cutting to the basket for an alley-oop.  There are so many ways this offense can thrive!

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I’m excited and you should be too!  I can’t wait until the season starts!

Westbrook, 30, averaged 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists with a shooting line of .428/.290/.656 through 73 games last season.