Russell Westbrook in ‘pretty good shape’ despite positive COVID-19 test
Russell Westbrook’s journey to the Orlando bubble has been delayed after testing positive for COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean the Houston Rockets star is slacking when it comes to preparing for the NBA restart.
Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni revealed that based from what he heard so far, Westbrook is in “pretty good shape.” He also noted that the team’s training staff will continue to monitor his physical condition when he arrives.
Mike D’Antoni on challenges ramping up @russwest44 when he arrives: “Our medical staff,they’ll determine when Russell’s ready to go & when he’s ready to play 20 min,30 min.I do hear he’s in pretty good shape & has been ramping up. Hopefully it’s fairly seamless w/some precaution”
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 19, 2020
The Rockets undoubtedly need Russell Westbrook to be at the top of his game as they prepare for the resumption of play in just under two weeks.
Westbrook excelled in Houston’s small-ball offense following the trade that netted the team Robert Covington in February. He averaged 33.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists in eight games in February, while also posting a true shooting clip of 59.4 percent for the month.
Spreading the floor with more shooters and increasing spacing allows Westbrook to attack the rim with reckless abandon. The Rockets often employ a five-out look on the offensive end of the floor, making it easier for Westbrook to exploit individual matchups and get into the paint.
However, there are questions as to the efficacy of the small-ball scheme come playoff time.
The Rockets will likely need to take down a team with productive bigs, whether it be the Los Angeles Lakers (Anthony Davis), Denver Nuggets (Nikola Jokic) or Los Angeles Clippers (Montrezl Harrell). In order to do so, they will at least need to be respectable on the boards.
This is where Westbrook’s health and activity could be critical. Russ’ rebounding abilities will be a vital component in the Rockets’ chances in Orlando, and it would be preferable if he has a full gas tank to work with in the restart.
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