The Houston Rockets are extremely excited about their offseason addition of Russell Westbrook, as the team now has two former NBA MVP’s still within their primes in their backcourt. The Rockets clearly feel that Westbrook could be the final piece to the puzzle when it comes to bringing another NBA title to Houston and, according to general manager Daryl Morey, his addition has boosted the team’s title chances by 30 percent.
From Bleacher Report:
The addition of Westbrook, an elite scorer and playmaker in his own right, should help ease Harden’s burden… Adding Westbrook boosted the Rockets’ odds of winning the title by about 30 percent, Morey says, citing internal calculations. It also helps that the Warriors aren’t the Warriors anymore.
“Now is our best chance,” Morey says with a chuckle.
The good news for the Rockets: Hall of Fame talents generally age better than average players, Morey says. And Harden’s game in particular—which relies on footwork, basketball IQ and smooth shooting more than pure athleticism—should age well. Still, Morey concedes, “30 to 34 are extremely critical years.”
The idea of an open title window is shared throughout the organization, as owner Tilman Fertitta recently stated that if the team doesn’t capitalize in the short-term their long-term outlook could be compromised due to moves made to maximize their present chances.
“I think we put ourselves in the position that if we don’t win it in the next three or four years, we probably aren’t going to win one in the next 10 years,” Fertitta said recently. “This is our window, and we need to seize the opportunity… This is the time. I just re-signed Eric Gordon who is 30 and I’ve got Russell [Westbrook] and James [Harden] and Eric and Clint Capela for the next four years. P.J. [Tucker] is 34 and our two stars are 30. So this is their window. Let’s seize the opportunity.”
While some have wondered how well Westbrook will fit with Harden as two ball-dominant guards, Fertitta isn’t concerned about a lack of chemistry between his two stars.
“It’s so important to have the right chemistry,” Fertitta told. “These are two guys that grew up in L.A. together and have known each other most of their lives. And they can talk to each other. You can say things to each other and the other would not get offended because you’re lifelong buddies. And so I think the chemistry’s going to be great this year.”
Harden isn’t worried either.
“Russ isn’t just like one of my old teammates that I was in Oklahoma City with; Russ has been my brother since I was 10,” Harden said. “Our communication is different. The way we talk to each other is different.”
For what it’s worth, Houston’s chances of winning a title next season actually dropped by .4 percent (from 4.4 to 4.0) following the addition of Westbrook, according to data from SportsLine. Entering the season, they are tied (with the Philadelphia 76ers) for the fourth-best odds to win the NBA title in June, behind the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Milwaukee Bucks.
Courtesy: CBS Sports