- The Houstons Rockets traded Chris Paul and two first-round draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for point guard Russell Westbrook
- Westbrook and Rockets guard James Harden are both two-time NBA scoring champions
- BetOnline moved Houston’s odds of winning the NBA Finals from +1400 to +800 after the trade was completed
Are the Houston Rockets on to something, or are they on something? Is Russell Westbrook the missing piece of the puzzle?
The Rockets are desperately seeking a formula that will get them over the top and into the NBA Finals. On Thursday, they dealt point guard Chris Paul, two first-round draft picks and two future pick swaps to the Oklahoma City Thunder for point guard Russell Westbrook.
Immediately, there was significant movement in the 2020 NBA Championship odds. Houston’s odds dipped to +800. The Rockets had been at +1400 before the trade.
Odds to Win 2020 NBA Championship
|Team||2020 NBA Championship Odds at BetOnline|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+350|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+500|
|Golden State Warriors||+1400|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+3300|
*Odds taken 07/12/19. Follow the link for a complete list of all teams.
Houston moved ahead of the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers to sit as fourth betting choice to win next season’s NBA title.
Is Westbrook a Better Option Than Paul?
Clearly, when it comes to scoring the basketball, Westbrook is an upgrade over Paul. Westbrook is a two-time NBA scoring champion.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, pick swaps in 2021 and 2025, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2019
Paul averages out as the more reliable and trustworthy player. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 4-1. Westbrook’s is 2-1. He hits 38% of his shots from the field, compared to 31% for Westbrook. Considering that the Rockets like to shoot threes more than any NBA team, lowering their overall field-goal percentage might not be the best approach.
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) July 12, 2019
Paul is a steady player, while Westbrook is more explosive and athletic. Westbrook, 31, is three years younger than Paul.
It will be different. But will it be different good for the Rockets?
Today’s Word is Sharing
According to published reports, Westbrook’s choice was to go the Houston and reunite with Harden.
— SaintBall (@ball_saint) July 12, 2019
Still, you have to wonder how will the rock be divided between Westbrook and Harden?
Harden led the NBA in scoring the last two seasons. Westbrook led the league in scoring in 2016-17 and 2014-15.
Harden was the NBA leader with 1,909 field-goal attempts last season. Westbrook (1,473) was eighth.
2018-19 PPG leader: James Harden
2018-19 APG leader: Russell Westbrook
2017-18 PPG leader: James Harden
2017-18 APG leader: Russell Westbrook
2016-17 PPG leader: Russell Westbrook
2016-17 APG leader: James Harden
— Rob Kimbell (@RobKSports) July 12, 2019
On the other hand, while Harden has been the NBA’s points per game leader the past two seasons. Westbrook was the assists per game leader each campaign. And when Westbrook topped PPG in 2016-17, Harden led in APG.
Maybe they can all get along.
Rockets Will Be Fun to Watch
Will the Rockets be the NBA’s best team? That’s up for debate. Will Houston be the NBA’s most entertaining team? Definitely.
Russell Westbrook and James Harden are hoping to join these dynamic duos in Houston. pic.twitter.com/2zbfCgvgLh
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 12, 2019
But here’s another alarming stat to ponder: Harden and Westbrook rank 1-2 in turnovers the past three seasons, each coughing up the ball more than 1,100 times.
That doesn’t sound like a formula for championship success.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.