Kamla On Rockets: "It Looks Great On Paper"

Russell Westbrook and James Harden are great players, Rick Kamla says, but they're going to have to share the ball in Houston

July 12, 2019 - 8:39 am
Russell Westbrook James Harden

USA Today Images


The Oklahoma City Thunder traded Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, two first-round picks and a pair of pick swaps Thursday, as Westbrook will be reunited with former OKC teammate James Harden.

This gives Houston one of the best one-two punches in a league suddenly full of them.

But will Westbrook and Harden – two ball-dominant players – co-exist?

“There’s no question that James Harden was brought into this decision,” NBA TV analyst Rick Kamla said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Russ and James probably still have a good relationship from their OKC days. It looks great on paper. You’ve got two MVPs. You’ve got walking triple-doubles, each of them. Russell Westbrook is an all-time great. James Harden is Hall of Fame with the potential to be all-time great. So it looks great on paper, but let’s get to the court and see how the Rockets play. Mike D’Antoni is a mad scientist and he has made it work with lots of guys and only one ball before, but this is probably the greatest challenge of his life to find that synergy and that chemistry between a ball hog and Westbrook and a ball hog and Harden.”

While Westbrook is an upgrade over Paul, Kamla does not believe Houston significantly improved. In fact, when asked to name the best team in the West, Kamla said, “It’s definitely not Houston.”

“I would put them third,” he said, “and I had them third before. So in terms of total impact on the NBA to me, this is a lateral move for the Houston Rockets. Chris Paul doesn’t suck. He’ll still bring 15 points, four boards and seven assists to the table – which is a far cry from the 20-10 he was automatic for in his prime, but he’s still a really good guard. Russell Westbrook’s stats are going to shrink, and James Harden’s stats are going to shrink because they have to share the ball a little bit more.”

Kamla says the Lakers are top dogs in the West.

“I love what they’ve done – absolutely love what they’ve done,” he said. “From Cousins to bringing back Rondo to getting Danny Green to bringing back Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, bringing back JaVale McGee – totally under the radar, nobody is talking about the acquisition of Avery Bradley, who is a dog and an unbelievable defensive player, a super selfless player. He’s not going to come there thinking about shots. He’s just going to fit in. He’s going to make catch-and-shoot threes and he’s going to play sticky defense. I love what the Lakers have done.”

Click below to listen to Kamla’s interview in its entirety.