One trade the Houston Rockets need to make in the offseason
The Houston Rockets had a record of 40-24 before the season was suspended due to COVID-19. The team had the second-best offense in the NBA in terms of points per game, as Houston was averaging 118.1 points per night with MVPs James Harden and Russell Westbrook leading the charge.
However, the Rockets were once again a poor defensive unit prior to games getting suspended. Houston was giving up 114.4 points per game and things got even worse for the team on the defensive side of the ball after general manager Daryl Morey traded Clint Capela to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Rockets had trouble stopping teams in the post since they had no true big man in the starting lineup following the Capela trade.
With that being said, Morey needs to trade for a big man this offseason who can also stretch the floor with perimeter shooting. The Rockets don’t want another lane-clogger like Capela since Morey pulled the trigger on the Capela deal to maximize Westbrook. Russ had more driving lanes to attack sans Capela since there was more room on the court to operate.
The Rockets would be wise to trade for one of Westbrook’s closest friends in the NBA this summer: Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star power forward Kevin Love. He is the perfect rebounder and stretch-four shooter to pair alongside Harden and Westbrook.
In 2019-20, Love averaged 17.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists while shooting 45.0 percent from the field, 37.4 percent from beyond the arc, and 85.4 percent from the free-throw line. The five-time All-Star, who played at UCLA with Westbrook, would feast in pick-and-pop actions with Westbrook and Harden since defenders have to decide if they want to limit the two superstars’ drive to the basket or go out to the perimeter and contest Love’s shot from deep.
While the Rockets would improve on the boards with the addition of Love, their defense isn’t going to get any better since Kevin has never been known to be a shot blocker. However, it almost appears as if playing defense is optional when you are coached by Mike D’Antoni. All the teams he’s coached in the past have always struggled on defense.
The Rockets are trying to win a championship solely with offensive firepower. Putting Love next to Harden and Westbrook makes a lot of sense since Love’s shooting skills are going bring opposing big men out to the perimeter, creating more space in the paint for Westbrook and Harden to attack.
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