The DC Voice

NBA… Houston has become a Problem

This NBA offseason has been absolutely brain-rattling and debatably the most moves to take place in one year in NBA history. Just take a look at all the high-profile athletes that have been on the move in just the span of one month. I’ve been covering this madness from The Brow and the King Looking at the Throne where the Lakers made the steal of the early post season. I took you to explore the Breaking News for Brooklyn, where Kawahi Leonard nixed the Lakers in favor of their cross-town rival the Clippers. We visited The Eclipsing Clippers where Jerry West has pulled off an amazing team transformation in a few short seasons. If you thought the mayhem ceases there, think again.

Examining what Oklahoma City got in return with a couple of role players and a few draft picks, Russell Westbrook, understandably wanted out. For a moment everybody was questioning where he would go after getting left by Kevin Durant and now Paul George. Then Houston decides to step into the frenzy of this offseason and trade Chris Paul to OKC for Westbrook.

This news was absolutely shell shocking with some hoping that a guy like Westbrook does not get left out to dry twice and stick it out with his adoring small-market franchise. Now watching him get traded to play with a better team, and on top of that his former teammate James Harden, was thrilling news. After all this time, nobody saw this coming that the two have been separated since the finals run they had back in 2012. Houston now gets an upgrade in the point guard position as Russell Westbrook can do more than Chris Paul because he is more athletic and can defend.  NBA fans, however, seem to be curious about whether this combination will be able to flourish or not.

I can see why people could start to think this way because Russell Westbrook and James Harden are both very ball-dominant guards. Meaning that they have to be in possession of the ball to score and get their shots up. On top of this, both players have the highest-rated time with the ball in their hands in the league so I can see where the doubt could stem from. Regardless, taking into account all the time that has passed since the two-all-stars have played together a lot of events have taken place. James Harden leaves OKC to go to Houston and show the world that he is way more than a sixth man. Kevin Durant left OKC to make one of the best teams ever in Golden State. Next Serge Ibaka gets traded from OKC to the Toronto Raptors to make a run for it in the Eastern Conference.

Russell Westbrook then begins to break the NBA record for most triple-doubles in a season, following that by doing it again the next season becoming the first person to do that in NBA history. James Harden then goes on a run of his own breaking Kobe Bryant’s record for most 30 point games consecutively in a season. If this accomplishment wasn’t enough, he became the first player to record a 60 point triple-double in NBA history. Did I forget to mention that both Westbrook and Harden have won the Most Valuable Player award?

So, even when you consider the fact that they are used to having the ball in their hands to score or operate the offense, I am pretty confident the two can avoid any conflict getting in the way of the ultimate goal of winning. Now that they both have their numbers, record-breaking performances, and awards, the thing that is missing from their resume is a ring. Both of them witnessed their former teammates that were the catalyst to that 2012 championship run both get championships under their belt. Kevin Durant winning two rings with Golden State and Serge Ibaka winning this past season with help mostly from Kawhi Leonard in Toronto.

Now the two have to look at each other and evaluate one another recapping their previous postseason struggles and realize that the clock is ticking on both of their legacies. Since that one NBA Finals appearance, Russell Westbrook has yet to make it past the first round of the playoffs getting gentleman swept by the Portland Trailblazers last season losing 4-1, and then losing to the Utah Jazz the year before coming up short 4-2. As for James Harden, he has had a little bit more success in the playoffs than Westbrook.

Since signing with the Houston Rockets in 2013 Harden has made it to the postseason every year due to his breakout talent. However, has found his troubles right before the finish line as Harden has not seen an NBA Finals yet either. Harden and the Rockets have made it to the Western Conference Finals twice, but both times have been bounced out by the beast that was Golden State. Back in 2015, Houston lost to the Warriors 4-1 in the WCF then in 2018 they managed to get a rematch, this time taking it to game 7, but still had to taste defeat losing to Golden State 4-3 in the WCF. Presently, the two are now linked back up and both have tasted defeat and success, so it will be very entertaining to see if they can now put all of their efforts into accomplishing the ultimate goal of an NBA title.

John Starcks

John Starcks

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