James Harden and Russell Westbrook are two of the most ball-dominant players in the NBA and now they will share the backcourt in Houston as one of the most talented duos in the league.
While both players excel with the ball in their hands, Westbrook is confident the pair can make things work, acknowledging they both have to 'sacrifice some parts' of their games for the greater goal of winning.
"We both understand that we have one common goal and that's to win a championship, so we understand what we have to do," Westbrook told reporters. "I'm not worried about it, I know James is not worried about it.
"I can play off the ball. I don't have to touch the ball to impact the game...I can do other things on the floor to be able to make sure we have a better chance of winning."
"We understand what we have to do."- NBA TV (@NBATV) July 26, 2019
- Russell Westbrook discusses how he and James Harden plan to work together in Houston pic.twitter.com/LyTwOOpSBY
Last season Harden led the league in usage rate 39.6, while Westbrook was not far behind at 30.1 and over the past five seasons, Harden and Westbrook rank first and second in usage rate. While both players will have to sacrifice some touches, the Rockets can conceivably have one elite playmaker on the court at all times.
The pair have known each other since childhood and played together in the early years of their careers for the Oklahoma City Thunder, earning a trip to the NBA Finals in 2011-12, before Harden was traded to Houston and Westbrook is banking on their familiarity to help ease the transition.
"It's an amazing opportunity" Westbrook added. "To reunite with James is another amazing chapter in my career. We have a great organisation, group of guys, front office, coaching staff, and an opportunity to do great things."
Coach Mike D'Antoni will have a big challenge immersing Westbrook into the Rockets' up-and-down three-point heavy system, but the former MVP believes the increased spacing he'll be afforded in Houston will allow him to wreak havoc in the paint.
"Floor spread, it gives me the opportunity to attack, penetrate, kick," Westbrook added "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.
"I think the style of play is great, something I'm looking forward to, just getting out in space in the open floor, shooters all around and playing that way."