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Rockets 2019-2020 player previews: Thabo Sefolosha


Shanghai Sharks v Houston Rockets Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

I cannot tell you how long I have speculated and hoped for Thabo Sefolosha to play basketball in a Rockets uniform one day. That day is coming soon.

In his 14th NBA season, Sefolosha is taking his talents to H-Town, and the timing and fit could not be any better.

The 35-year-old Swiss wing began his career with the Bulls, but was dealt to the Thunder midway through Russell Westbrook’s rookie season. The duo started in the OKC backcourt as Westbrook was getting his feet wet in the league.

Then, James Harden was drafted four months after Sefolosha got to Oklahoma.

Sefolosha started all but one game, and he played in his five-and-a-half seasons with the Thunder alongside Russ, and the two formed a strong bond. He was also the road block that prevented Harden from joining the Thunder’s starting lineup.

Sefolosha started for the Thunder to provide a defensive complement to Westbrook and Kevin Durant’s offense, and it was a combination that almost nabbed OKC a title in 2012, but the team lost in five games to the Miami Heat.

Sefolosha moved on from the Thunder in the 2014 offseason, as the team found a younger version of Sefolosha’s archetype in Andre Roberson.

Throughout his career, Sefolosha has been a glue-guy, and the glue is the stickiest in Houston.

When you dramatically change your roster by swapping out Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, everything changes. Perspective, style of play, and the feng shui of the team are all in jeopardy, but what Sefolosha provides is balance.

He is the one player most familiar with Russ, possibly even more than Harden, who will now start alongside Westbrook instead of Sefolosha. He’s also a former teammate of Harden’s and a teammate of Clint Capela’s on the Swiss national team.

With so many connections on the team, this move made too much sense for it not to happen. Thabo is the ultimate glue guy and will prove to be extremely valuable.

He may not play all that often, and he might not crack the rotation, but what he can and will do is bring the best out of his teammates, and that is integral to any team in the hunt for a championship.