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Russell Westbrook excited to partner with James Harden, willing to sacrifice to bring Rockets a title

Russell Westbrook was officially introduced as a member of the Houston Rockets on Friday, and the former NBA MVP has high expectations for his new franchise, and his pairing with his former teammate on the Oklahoma City Thunder, James Harden.  

Though there are some concerns about how Harden and Westbrook — two high-volume, ball-dominant guards — will fit together in Houston’s backcourt, Westbrook isn’t worried.   

“We’ve been friends for many, many years,” Westbrook said of Harden, via ESPN. “Since I was 10, actually. So we’ve played with each other in Oklahoma City, and to be able to win something, you’ve got to be willing to sacrifice some parts of your game and we both understand that.

“We both understand that we have one common goal and that’s to win a championship. We understand what we have to do. I’m not worried about it and I know James isn’t worried about it. I can play off the ball; I don’t have to touch the ball to impact the game. That’s the best way for me to come in and impact this team. I can do other things on the floor to make sure we have a better chance to win.”

The feeling of faith is mutual, as Harden said something very similar recently when discussing Houston’s addition of Westbrook. 

“We played with each other in the NBA and the Olympics and all that,” Harden said of Westbrook, via the Sporting News. “When you have talent like that, it works itself out. You communicate, you go out there and compete, and possession by possession, you figure things out. Throughout the course of the season, you figure things out. That’s just what it is. When you have talent, you have guys with IQ, you have guys that are willing to sacrifice, it always works itself out.

“It’s that trust factor. I trust him; he trusts me. With the group that we already have and the things we already accomplished, it should be an easy transition for him to be incorporated right in, and things are going to go.”  

Outside of just Harden, Westbrook thinks that he will fit in well with the Rockets’ overall style of play and that their tendency to spread the floor will help him attack on offense. 

“I’ll fit right in, personally,” Westbrook said. “Floor spread, it gives me the opportunity to attack, penetrate, kick. Defensively, it’ll give me an opportunity to switch and guard and rebound at a high level. Push the break, get us out on the break. A lot of different things.

“I think the style of play is great, something I’m looking forward to, just getting out in space in the open floor, shooters all around and playing that way.”

Westbrook and Harden have both had their fair share of individual success in the NBA, but both have been unable to lead a team to a title. Now together again, they’re hoping to do just that, even if it means having to adjust their respective styles of play. 

EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team
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