3. Houston Rockets
The Golden State Warriors have eliminated the Houston Rockets from the NBA Playoffs in four of the last five postseasons. Even when the Dubs lost Kevin Durant in the middle of the series last year, the Warriors managed to topple the Rockets in six games.
If there was ever a year in which the Rockets finally climbed over the mountain, it would be this year. Reloaded with the chaotic energy of Russell Westbrook, the Rockets have the potential to be the best team in the league.
Russell Westbrook’s last three seasons:
- 2016-17: 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists per game
- 2017-18: 25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, 10.3 assists per game
- 2018-19: 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 10.7 assists per game
We all know what Westbrook brings to the table. A frenzy fast-paced style of play with the ability to average a triple-double. Pair this alongside the cool, iso-heavy style of James Harden and this is a scary dynamic.
To round out the lineup, the Rockets have players such as Clint Capela, Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon, Iman Shumpert, P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green to add depth to their roster. Overall, this is the best team the Rockets have had in the last five years.
Can the Warriors slow down the duo of Harden and Westbrook? Unlikely. There is going to be a heavy mismatch with whoever Stephen Curry or D’Angelo Russell has to defend. In recent years, the Dubs could simply outweigh the Rockets scoring with efficient scoring of their own. This year, the Rockets have more firepower and it might prove to be too much for the Dubs to keep up with.