When the season started, nobody gave the Rockets much of a hope to win anything. There were simply to many unknown variables with this team.
A new coach in Mike D’Antoni, coming from three bad seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, and that later was only able to get an Assistant Coach gig with the 76ers. He was far from his best coaching days, when he led a blazing Suns team that he molded for the talents and genius of Steve Nash, generating 2 MVP seasons from the Canadian.
A constant questioning of James Harden’s motivation to be the star that would carry this team to the next level. He seemed deflated last season, marked by his extremely poor defensive efforts, that rounded the internet in what could be called lowlight videos.
Who would’ve known that the arrival of a hyper-aggressive minded coach and a change in positions could make this Rockets team into the powerhouse they are today?
D’Antoni turned back to the blueprint that worked in his Phoenix days: assemble the most potent offensive juggernaut he can to maximize his uber-talented guard’s best assets and entrust him the driving keys, while staying out of the way.
It worked. By moving Harden to the Point Guard position, D’Antoni’s offense can make use of The Beard’s monstrous slash-and-kick ability and his freakish court vision to empower what would become the second-best offense in the league and the tenth best regular season offense of all-time. Of all-time.
This is one of the most potent race cars straight out of the Speed Racer universe with its multiple gadgets and that was tailor-made to fit the talents of its driver.
And he shares the ball. He became the first player to EVER score and assist on 2,000 points in a season. The ball moves. Unlike on the Thunder offense.
Westbrook had an amazing season, in good and bad ways. He averaged a triple-double for the season. But he played the ultimate version of hero ball to get there. Everything the Thunder did had to go by his hands. Where were Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, André Roberson, that were so good on the Playoffs last year? What happened to Victor Oladipo, a former top-5 lottery pick that had his good moments on the Orlando Magic? Westbrook sucked the life out of this OKC offense while feeding his monstrous numbers.
Everybody knows what the Thunder is doing on offense. Nobody knows what is coming out of Harden’s Mach 5. And he’s ready to cook.