Article written by Nicolas Papa (9/20/20)
Last off-season we saw the Houston Rockets trade Chris Paul to OKC in exchange for Russel Westbrook. Many in the media considered this a great trade for the Rockets pairing Westbrook with his best friend James Harden. Later during the season we saw Houston convert to a small ball style of play by trading away Clint Capela and acquiring Robert Covington. This lead to Houston running 6’7 PJ Tucker at center. Houston would go on to defeat Westbrook’s former team the OKC Thunder in the first round of the playoffs but lose to the Lakers in 5 in the next. With coach Mike D’Antoni deciding not to resign with the team Houston has fallen into uncertainty surrounding the team. Here are 2 scenarios we could possibly see in Houston.
1. They Enter Rebuild Mode
This is the scenario I would like to see the most but is unlikely. A few months ago I said Houston needs to blow the team up and I still stand by those words. James Harden has had multiple opportunities to prove himself and take his team to the NBA Finals but has failed miserably for years. Houston paired him up with Multiple stars including Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Russel Westbrook. Houston could just never get the Job done with James Harden as the lead guy. I personally believe Houston should trade both Westbrook and Harden to start over from the beginning. The West is only getting better and this Rockets teams window is getting smaller year by year.
2. They stay together
The most likely of the two we could see Houston stay together and try to add one more piece which they desperately need. The question is what is that piece? Houston already has two ball dominant guards with James Harden and Russel Westbrook. They have solid 3&D guys like Robert Covington, PJ Tucker, and Eric Gordon. Unfortunately they need what they just traded away which is a solid big man that can play defense and takeover a game on offense. If Houston doesn’t trade the duo of Harden and Westbrook they must be willing to go all in for a big man like Joel Embiid or Lamarcus Aldridge, maybe even look to acquire some young building blocks along side there dynamic duo. Whether Houston blows it up or keeps it together I believe they are on the verge of mediocrity which at times is the worst place to be in the NBA.