Rockets Can Kiss Their Title Hopes Goodbye If They Foolishly Trade Russell Westbrook
- Rumors are swirling that Russell Westbrook is available for trade.
- Westbrook is shooting almost 50% from the field in his last nine games yet he’s still at the center of the controversy.
- The former MVP’s deep playoff experience would be critical come May.
The rumor mill kicked into high gear a day after the Houston Rockets suffered a humiliating defeat against the injury-plagued Golden State Warriors. At the center of the controversy is Russell Westbrook. The explosive point guard shot an abysmal 0-8 from beyond the arc and committed four turnovers in the loss against the Dubs.
Brodie’s lackluster performance on Christmas is giving critics ammunition. Dan Feldman of NBC Sports claims that Westbrook is not providing the expected lift. He asserts that the Houston Rockets have struggled when James Harden is on the bench and Russ is leading the charge.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Some are even saying that GM Daryl Morey has made the eight-time All-Star available for trade. If Morey moves Westbrook, the Rockets can say goodbye to their title hopes this NBA season.
Russell Westbrook May Be on the Trading Block
Less than six months after acquiring Russell Westbrook, it appears that Daryl Morey is starting to entertain the idea of parting ways with the former MVP. Ryen Russillo of the Ringe believes that the GM would be happy to move forward without Westbrook for the right price.
As per Complex, Russillo said,
I think Westbrook is available. We can talk about semantics. Of course, Daryl Morey would trade anyone if he thought it made his team better. Of course, he would trade Westbrook if he could get off of that long-term money, if he thought the assets, the sum of the parts was better than having somebody that’s considered a top-10 player.
Daryl Morey is notorious for ditching star players who are not living up to expectations, so it’s not surprising to hear that Westbrook is on the table.
Why Trading Westbrook Now Is a Bad Idea
The Houston Rockets are in a good place right now. They are 21 and 10 and have won seven of their last ten games. They are also a mere three games behind the top seeded Lakers. In other words, the Russell Westbrook experiment is not failing.
Despite his struggles, Brodie is averaging over 24.1 points per game this season. There are nights when Westbrook shoots poorly. However, he is averaging nearly 50% from the field in his last nine games. The athletic point guard is carrying his own weight.
For those who say that Houston struggles when Westbrook is at the helm of the offense should consider the talent drop when starters take a breather. If you look at Houston’s roster, Brodie is forced to play with the likes of Austin Rivers, Gary Clark, Chris Clemons, and Tyson Chandler. None of whom are averaging double digits in points this season.
This would change when Eric Gordon returns to the line-up. With a reliable scorer off the bench to help carry the load, Westbrook won’t be forced to play the role of a volume shooter.
Westbrook’s Playoff Experience Would Be Critical In May
Westbrook has deep playoff experience, having played in 98 postseason games since 2010. In addition, Harden and him reached the NBA finals in 2012. His experience would be critical in May when the Rockets go up against talented teams such as the Clippers and the Lakers.
You need experienced stars to go deep in the playoffs. Westbrook is a battle-tested veteran who knows what it takes to win it all.
If Houston needs to make a trade, Morey should look into improving the bench rather than putting a top-10 player on the trading block. Blowing up a team just before it shows its full potential might not be the best move for the trigger happy GM.
This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.