Russell Westbrook offered something of a warning to the rest of the NBA regarding his reunion with James Harden.
“It’s going to be scary, that’s all I can tell you,” Westbrook said during Houston Rockets media day Friday. “It’s going to be scary — not for us.”
Seven years have passed since Westbrook and Harden last played together with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals. Harden and Westbrook, who have been friends since their childhoods in Los Angeles, have developed into perennial All-Star guards, and both have won an NBA MVP award.nfl nike jersey cheap
But neither superstar has made it back to the NBA Finals since the Thunder’s 2012 loss to the Miami Heat.
They pushed to reunite with the Rockets, who traded Chris Paul and a package of first-round picks to acquire Westbrook from the Thunder, in large part due to their desire to finally win a championship.
“We’ve accomplished a lot of individual accolades,” said Harden, who led the league in scoring the past two seasons after Westbrook did so during his 2016-17 MVP season. “Now it’s time to accomplish something together that we haven’t accomplished before.”buy nike nfl jerseys cheap
Some questioned the pairing of two of the league’s most ball-dominant players, as Harden has elevated from a Sixth Man of the Year to perennial MVP candidate since he last played with Westbrook. Harden acknowledged that they would have to “figure it out” regarding ball distribution and how to complement each other offensively, but it’s not a concern for him because of their friendship and mutual desire to win.
“If Russ got it going and Russ is having one of those games that we’ve all seen before, guess what I’m going to do: sit back and watch the show, and vice versa,” Harden said. “It’s just a part of basketball. So you can’t sit up here and say, ‘Oh, Russ is going to have the ball for the first half and I’m going to have the ball the second half.’ No, things happen through the course of the game that you just flow with and go with.
The process of figuring it out could be limited in the preseason by Westbrook’s availability as he continues to recover from the arthroscopic knee surgery he had after the Thunder were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last spring.
Coach Mike D’Antoni said Westbrook was only recently cleared for 5-on-5 work. The Rockets intend to proceed cautiously with Westbrook, who is likely to sit out some practices and preseason games.
“I feel like I’m in a good place,” Westbrook said of his health. “I’ll be ready to go on opening night.”