The Houston Rockets began a new era in their rich history on Friday, as they introduced superstar point guard Russell Westbrook to the team. Along with James Harden and other members of the organization in attendance, Westbrook’s press conference was full of excitement as the eight-time All-Star expressed his desire to win a championship in Houston.
While expressing how enthusiastic he is about joining the Rockets and having a great chance to win an NBA title, there were several key takeaways from Westbrook’s introductory press conference about his future in Houston.
Westbrook sees himself fitting in just fine with the Rockets:
Of all the changes made in the NBA this summer, Houston’s move to acquire Westbrook has been the most criticized. Many have questioned how Brodie and The Beard will coexist together on the court and Westbrook’s fit within the Rockets’ system in general.
While many are concerned about his addition to the team, Westbrook sees himself as an exceptional piece in the Rockets’ system, especially on the defensive end.
“I’ll fit right in. Personally, the floor spread gives me a good opportunity to attack, penetrate, and kick with shooters all around. Defensively, this team allows me to switch, guard, and rebound at a high level. And being able to get out and run on the open break, I think this style is great, and it is something I am looking forward to.”
Westbrook says he’ll be ready by the start of training camp:
In addition to his fit within organization, others have expressed their concerns about Westbrook due to his health. Despite establishing himself as one of the NBA’s best iron-men, Westbrook has had his fair share of injuries throughout his career, in particular, problems to his right knee he originally injured in a 2013 incident against Patrick Beverley.
Nearly five years since his last major surgery, Westbrook’s offseason began with a minor operation on his surgically reconstructed knee, as well as an additional procedure to repair a torn ligament in a finger on his left hand.
“I’ll be ready to go. I am doing great with my recovery, taking my time, and resting as much as possible. I know at the start of the season we are going to go after it, and I’ll be ready to go.”
Westbrook’s biggest challenge:
Although he is excited about joining the Rockets and believes he will be a great fit within Houston’s system, Westbrook knows any adjustments he has to make will be a challenge at the start of the season. However, Brodie says he is not worried one bit about the potential accommodations with his new teammates.
“The biggest challenge early on is learning how to play with my new teammates. I think of it as growing pains, that is not something I worry about and I hope my teammates are not worried as well.”
James Harden was the driving force behind the trade:
Even though he is not the general manager, it comes to no surprise that James Harden had a hand in helping the Rockets acquire Westbrook from the Thunder. So much so, it seems as if Harden was a little too eager for Daryl Morey to get the deal done.
However, Westbrook said Harden made the idea of departing from Oklahoma City an easy process when thinking about the future of his career.
“He [James Harden] played a huge role and is pretty consistent when he wants something done. We had a few conversations and talked about the possibility of reuniting, but he definitely made it an easy process and not a hard decision for me at all.”
Morey is looking to make one more move:
After trading for Westbrook, the Rockets have made several other additions to their roster that includes signing Tyson Chandler and Ben McLemore as free agents. On paper, it seems as if Houston is ready for the new season, but Daryl Morey seems far from satisfied with his roster.
With Houston currently in the running to land veteran forward Andre Iguodala from the Memphis Grizzlies, Morey says the Rockets are not done making moves, either prior to the start of the season or during it.
“We feel good about where we are at. Obviously, we are always trying to upgrade, and we are trying to win a title. If there is a significant player to add, we will do it. It will probably happen more likely through a trade given where free agency is at. But, you know us, we’re never done. It could be an acquisition before the season, or it could be something during the year that could make us one step better.”
There are a lot of uncertainties surrounding the Rockets due to the addition of Russell Westbrook, but one thing is for certain, Houston will be home of the NBA’s top highlight reel all season long.
Welcome to Houston Russell Westbrook!