Russell Westbrook was introduced as the newest addition of the Houston Rockets. One of the most dominant players in the NBA recently got traded from Oklahoma City Thunder, where he spent 11 years.
In his first press conference as a Rocket, Russ stated that from now on his primary mission is to be successful with Houston.
The majority of the reporters wanted to know whether he and James Harden might work as a team. According to Westbrook, that shouldn’t be a problem because them two already played together in the past. From 2010 until 2012, the two shared the floor together in Oklahoma, meaning that they already know one another very well. Besides that, Russ stated that the friendship between them lasts since they were kids.
“We’ve been friends for many, many years,” Westbrook said of Harden. “Since I was 10, actually.”
Having in mind that both Harden and Westbrook like having the ball in their hands, and dictating the tempo of play, the reporters were curious in which way are the two former MVPs going to adjust their game to one another.
Westbrook stated that Harden’s style of play opens a lot of opportunity for him on both sides on the floor and he even pictured several of them,
“I’ll fit right in, personally,” he said. “Floor spread, it gives me the opportunity to attack, penetrate, kick. Defensively, it’ll give me an opportunity to switch and guard and rebound at a high level. Push the break, get us out on the break. A lot of different things.”
After more than a decade of play for the Thunder, where he became the franchise icon, Westbrook left. He got traded to Texas in exchange for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, and the right to swap picks in two more seasons.
OKC had one of the most talented cores in the NBA but never managed to win the title. Slowly, one by one all the players left the franchise, with Westbrook being the only one who stayed. He aggressively recruited Paul George to sign a multi-year deal with OKC, which eventually happened. Still, PG decided to jump to the LA Clippers this season, and team up with Kawhi Leonard, which forced the Thunder to go into a reconstruction process. It meant only one thing for Westbrook, and that is to leave if he wants to win a championship.
He and Harden are going to be a fun duo to watch. The Beard was 2018 NBA MVP and the top scorer in the past two seasons. Meanwhile, Westbrook led the league in assists over the previous two years, winning two NBA scoring titles during his career. Both of these players competed against one another in various categories and met on the floor in several playoff series.
Over the previous few campaigns, they were in the middle of attention as the biggest rivals for the MVP award, which makes their future cooperation even more interesting and exciting.
Because of all that rivalry in the past, Westbrook hasn’t been that popular in Houston. Nevertheless, he believes that he can change such an impression.
“That I’m a nice guy,” Westbrook said to all the Rockets fans. “Obviously when I play the game, I’m going out to compete. I’m going out to win. And I don’t care how that looks.”