Ever since his trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook has struggled to fully thrive with the Houston Rockets. It’s hard to believe that given the individual talent of Westbrook and James Harden. However, after only averaging under 30 points at 40 percent from the field for the months of November and December, Westbrook began to turn things around.
For the month of January; Russell Westbrook averaged 33 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds. Not to mention, his field goal percentage skyrocketed from 40 to 52 percent. Many in the sports world were ready to label Westbrook as “A Shell of His Former Self.”. However, he has since proved them wrong. The Brodie has continued to improve during the month of February as well, averaging 32 points on 52 percent from field goal range and a heavily improved 38 percent from behind the arc.
It is safe to wonder, what caused this sudden shift in Westbrook’s game as of late? Well, one of the reasons is because of a great recent trade. The Houston Rockets traded center Clint Capela in exchange for forward Robert Covington in early February. This trade allowed players to stretch the floor and leave more space for the paint.
Coming out of the All-Star break, the Houston Rockets have won three straight games; all convincing wins. Westbrook and Harden have since complemented each other, averaging 30 plus points apiece in the past few games. In an interview with GQ, Harden speaks on overcoming the struggles earlier in the season.
“Obviously we want to win every game, but we had to deal with so much adversity early in the season. You know, just like random stuff too. Clint [Capela] missing games, and Eric Gordon being out. You know he wasn’t healthy to start the season off. We haven’t had a full roster yet. Which is scary, you know? I think that’s the most exciting thing about it.”.
The Rockets still remain incomplete. With Eric Gordon coming off an injury, Robert Covington coming in, and Westbrook finally coming into a rhythm; who knows what the Rockets will become? The Western Conference is tough, so it remains to be seen if the dynamic duo in Houston can prevail.