Houston Rockets: Favorites Out West After Russell Westbrook Trade?

It appeared as if the Houston Rockets were going to stay pat and head into the 2019-2020 NBA season with the same intact. General Manager Daryl Morey had other ideas. He feels this team wasn’t good enough so Morey decided to acquire point guard Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder for Chris Paul, a 2021 and a 2025 draft pick swap, and a 2024 and a 2026 first-round pick.

Westbrook is now reunited with James Harden. It will be interesting to see how they co-exist with each other once again considering the fact that they both need the ball in their hands. In 73 games played last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook averaged 22.9 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 10.7 APG, 0.5 BPG, and 1.9 SPG.

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They were bounced from the playoffs for the third consecutive season in the first-round. Westbrook was the fourth overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Seattle Supersonics (before they became the Oklahoma City Thunder). He still has four more years remaining on his contract. Russell Westbrook will also be making over $38 million each season.

He is also 30 years old.

As for Chris Paul, I find it hard to believe he is going to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the next three years. Oklahoma City is going to either buy him out or trade him to another team like the Miami Heat.

In 58 games played last season with the Houston Rockets, Paul averaged 15.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 8.2 APG, 0.3 BPG, and 2 SPG.

He is 34 years old and Chris Paul will also be owed over $38 million for the next three years.

After this trade, could it be possible that the Houston Rockets might be the favorites out west? They were the number four seed in the west last season with a 53-29 record.

The Golden State Warriors have eliminated Houston from the playoffs in 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019. Although Golden State seems to be depleted. I don’t think the Warriors will be a Top four seed in the west next season.

The Rockets will be a Top four seed in the west. They will either be a number three or a number two seed. I think the Warriors will be a five seed. That would mean that they wouldn’t have play them until the conference finals, but I don’t think Houston wants to play them early in the postseason or just ever.

The addition of Russell Westbrook makes them a better team and the Houston Rockets did not have to give up any key assets like Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, or Gerald Green.

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The starting lineup will most likely be (C) Clint Capela, (PF) P.J. Tucker, (SF) Gerald Green, (SG) James Harden, and (PG) Russell Westbrook.

Houston was also one win away from the NBA Finals two years ago. Mike D’Antoni will be entering the final year of his head coaching contract. It more than likely they could sign a contract extension now, but Morey may not want to exactly give it to him yet.

The west in the NBA will be wild next season. I still would have the Los Angeles Clippers, the Denver Nuggets, and the Los Angeles Lakers ahead of them when it comes to championship odds. I may even include the Golden State Warriors. In saying that, the Houston Rockets odds to win the 2019-2020 championship probably went up. Nevertheless, I still would not pick them to win the title.

How do you feel about the Houston Rockets playoff chances in 2019? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Glenn on Twitter @glennkaplan13.

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