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Reuniting Russell Westbrook with James Harden gives Houston Rockets ‘best backcourt in basketball’, says Kenny Smith | NBA News

Buying and selling for Russell Westbrook and pairing him with James Harden provides the Houston Rockets the “best backcourt in basketball”, says NBA TV analyst Kenny Smith.

Russell Westbrook traded to Houston Rockets for Chris Paul

The Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder traded Westbrook to the Rockets for veteran All-Star guard Chris Paul and a pair of first-round draft picks, in response to a number of media retailers.

The transfer reunites Westbrook and Harden who performed collectively in Oklahoma Metropolis between 2009 and 2012. Alongside Kevin Durant, the pair helped the Thunder attain the 2012 NBA Finals the place they had been crushed by the Miami Warmth.

Talking on NBA Gametime, TV analyst – and former Houston Rockets guard – Kenny Smith stated the Westbrook-Harden pairing is the “best backcourt in basketball”.

“You are talking about two of the last three [league] MVPs. It’s incredible to have that type of talent on one team,” he stated. “You take a look at what the Lakers and Clippers have carried out, it is like [the Thunder have said to the rest of the Western Conference], are you able to cease our two guys now? These two guys [Harden and Westbrook] have by no means been stopped of their careers.

James Harden rises to score during the Rockets' win over Denver 4:11
Watch James Harden’s greatest clutch performs from the 2018-19 NBA season

“Now they’re again collectively, that’s an unbelievable backcourt. They performed collectively earlier than [in Oklahoma City] so that they know the best way to get it carried out. They’re the perfect backcourt in basketball.

“Houston have been an offensive juggernaut for the last few years. The difference now is Russ could point to half of the league or more and say ‘I can guard him’. In past with Houston, I don’t their guys could say ‘we’ll outscore you and stop you’.”

The commerce marks the tip of Westbrook’s 11-year tenure in Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder. He was named common season MVP for the 2016-17 season and has averaged a triple-double in every of his previous three NBA seasons. Nevertheless, since Kevin Durant’s departure from Oklahoma Metropolis in 2016, Westbrook has failed to guide the Thunder past the opening spherical of the playoffs.

Erik Horne, who experiences on the Thunder for The Oklahoman, instructed NBA Gametime Westbrook leaves Oklahoma Metropolis as “the greatest player in franchise history”.

Russell Westbrook finishes at the rim 3:43
Russell Westbrook prolonged his triple-double streak to 11 video games with 44 factors, 14 rebounds and 11 assists towards the New Orleans Pelicans

“When Kevin Durant was here, Westbrook was almost looked at like the fall guy while ‘KD’ was seen as the guy who could do no wrong,” Horne stated. “It was robust for him to return into the league and take the criticism he initially had when he was taking part in subsequent to an otherworldly expertise.

“Effectivity was by no means Russell Westbrook’s sport, however the strides he has made within the final 11 years can’t go unspoken. The man is a Corridor of Fame participant and he has propped up this franchise when Durant left. If not for Westbrook, there isn’t any telling the place the franchise can be now.

“The thoughts about Russell Westbrook have shifted since he came to Oklahoma City. He started out as the ‘second banana’ and is now considered the greatest player in franchise history because he stuck with the Thunder when they lost their supposed ‘top gun’ and he endeared himself to a community and a state by being a guy who didn’t ‘bounce’ or break when things got difficult.”

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