HOUSTON, TEXAS – JANUARY 20: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets checks the scoreboard … [+]
The Houston Rockets mortgaged their future when they traded two future draft picks, along with the right to two pick swaps, and Chris Paul, to the Oklahoma City Thunder this summer for Russell Westbrook. Coming off of offseason knee surgery, and attempting to acclimate to a new scheme, Westbrook had a shaky start to the 2019-2020 season.
On the year, Westbrook is averaging 25.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game on 44.6% from the floor and 23.5% on 3’s. But for the month of January, in seven games, Westbrook is averaging 30 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game on 52% from the floor and 26% on 3’s.
In four games in October, Westbrook averaged 22.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 10.3 assists per game on 48% from the floor and 31% on 3’s. But in November, in thirteen games, Westbrook averaged 21.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game on just 41% from the floor and and 22% on 3’s. Over thirteen games in December, Westbrook averaged 27.1 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game, but on 43% shooting from the floor and 23% on 3’s. It is safe to say that January has been the best month of the year for Westbrook.
On the year, the Rockets have an offensive rating of 109.8 with Westbrook on the court, but on offensive rating of 115.6 with him off the court. They have a defensive rating of 105.5 with Westbrook on the court and a defensive rating of 109.3 with him off the court. But in January, the Rockets have an offensive rating of 110.8 with Westbrook on the court and an offensive rating of 105.3 off the court. They have a defensive rating of 105.2 with Westbrook on the court and a defensive rating of 109.8 with him off the court.
Unfortunately for Houston, this surge of dominance from their All-Star point guard has coincided with the worst shooting slump of James Harden’s career and thus, the production hasn’t translated to the standings. Entering Friday, the Rockets found themselves sitting at just 27-16 and sixth in the Western Conference.
On the year, 79.3% of Westbrook’s field goal attempts are 2-point field goals and 20.8% are 3-point field goals. But in January, 88.5% of Westbrook’s field goal attempts are 2-point field goals with just 11.5% being 3-point field goals. Westbrook has cut down in January on shots from his area of greatest weakness and attacked the rim, his greatest strength. At the time of the trade, many wondered how he would fit into a Houston offense which prioritized spacing and three-point shooting.
With Eric Gordon back from surgery, the Rockets are fully healthy for the first time all season. Heading into the All-Star break, with Westbrook finally rolling, they hope they can get Harden going again so that they can make a push heading into the postseason. They have to be encouraged thus far by how their new star has found a niche within their offense after an initially shaky start to the season.