Bettors Insider
www.bettorsinsider.com
In this Jan. 25, 2012 photo Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden, left, talks with teammate Russell Westbrook in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City.
In this Jan. 25, 2012 photo Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden, left, talks with teammate Russell Westbrook in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City.|Sue Ogrocki | Associated Press
NBA

Mims tries to make sense of the Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul trades

Robert Mims

Robert Mims

James Harden and Russell Westbrook are reunited in Houston. When this story broke on Friday, I did not have this as one of the places that I saw as a landing spot for Westbrook. Two ball dominant players that have a scorer mentality. After 48 hours of deliberations I think I understand it better.

The 1st reason is they have played together before. Harden ‘s game has expanded along with the range of his jump shot. The aggression that Westbrook will bring fits the Houston philosophy of shooting layups or 3-point attempts.

The 2nd reason is the defensive intensity that Westbrook will bring to the Rockets. He is an upgrade over Chris Paul and will not be a liability when the opponent forces a switch. My 3rd reason is there will be no drop off when Harden sits down during the game. If Westbrook and Harden are on the court the Rockets should project as the top offensive team in the NBA. They were second last year to the Warriors.

I don’t project Harden’s scoring prowess diminishing to accommodate Westbrook. Westbrook can still average close to a triple double with a team that has more capable shooters than OKC. I do envision that if this team does not play in the NBA Finals that Mike D’Antoni will not return. His inability to exercise a different approach when the playoffs start is the Rockets Achilles heal.

Chris Paul going to the Oklahoma City Thunder is like a visit from a State Farm insurance agent. He is not going to be there very long. This is going to be a quick move toward a trade where the money fits under the salary cap or a buyout. Chris is 34 and will not consider finishing his career on a team bent on rebuilding. Miami is a good fit for Paul along with Jimmy Butler. Denver or Detroit could use his talents. The thought of the Pistons intrigues me because he would reunite with Blake Griffin.

Follow me on Twitter.