The NBA world was shocked once more Thursday as ESPN reported the Rockets and Thunder accomplished a commerce sending Chris Paul to Oklahoma Metropolis and Russell Westbrook to Houston.
The Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder have agreed to commerce Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, decide swaps in 2021 and 2025, league sources inform ESPN.
– Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2019
This can be a big deal for the Western Convention as Houston boasts the same workforce to what it had final yr, however acquired youthful and extra athletic within the course of.
Rockets followers can dream concerning the potential of this tandem, but it surely’s not an concept that’s overseas. In reality, we have seen this mix earlier than as Harden and Westbrook each have been drafted by the Thunder and performed collectively from 2009-12 and made an NBA Finals alongside Kevin Durant of their final season collectively.
So what did these groups seem like in Oklahoma Metropolis? They regarded nice, we’ll inform you that.
With Westbrook, the Thunder had a high-energy level guard who was unstoppable going to the rim and a terror on protection. With Durant, Oklahoma Metropolis had the participant who might get any shot he needed and offered a mismatch each time he was on the court docket. Harden was the sixth man for that workforce as he supplied a stable scoring choice and a greater defender than individuals could bear in mind (he was given the job of guarding LeBron James within the 2012 NBA Finals for lengthy stretches).
However, we are able to solely inform you a lot about how they performed collectively. It will likely be significantly better to indicate you. Simply take this sport on March 23, 2012 when the three mixed to attain 110 factors in opposition to the Timberwolves. Harden and Westbrook totaled 70.
Nearly as good as they have been as a workforce, although, lots of people did not take them severely. That’s till they dominated the Spurs within the Western Convention finals. After shedding the primary two video games, they got here again to win the final 4 by a median of almost 10 factors (9.75).
In that collection, the massive three dominated as Westbrook averaged 18.1 factors, 7.three assists and 5.eight rebounds, Harden put up 18.5, 5.5 and three.6 whereas Durant added 29.5, 5.three and seven.5. This was the workforce to beat for years to return.
They wound up shedding to the Warmth within the Finals in 5 video games, however they gained the primary one, and had it not been for a missed foul name within the waning moments of Recreation 2, the Thunder may need gone up 2-Zero in that collection after which, who is aware of?
This workforce was the Warriors earlier than the Warriors and Harden and Westbrook have been big components of that. It regarded prefer it was going to be a dynasty for years to return within the West, however that was till Harden was coming due for an extension and more cash.
Finally, the Thunder did not pay him and he was dealt to Houston together with Daequan Prepare dinner, Cole Aldrich and Lazar Hayward in alternate for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks (which turned Steven Adams in 2013 and Mitch McGary in 2014), and a second-round decide (which turned Álex Abrines in 2013).
Harden then went on to win an MVP with Houston in 2018, Westbrook gained it with the Thunder in 2017 and Durant acquired one in 2014. Now, two of these gamers are again collectively. Durant is the one one to have a title (he gained two with the Warriors), however Westbrook and Harden can see if they will get one they so extremely covet.