NBA Power Rankings week 10: OKC Thunder vault up ladder

OKC Thunder Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
22 of 31
OKC Thunder Power Ranking week 1
OKC Thunder Power Ranking week 1: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets speaks with Russell Westbrook #0 during a break in the action (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets. 10. team. 169. . 22-11. Previous: 10th

Houston Rockets:

Offense: (113.6) 3rd
Defense: (109.2) 16th
Net: (plus +4.3) 10th

Games Week 10 (2-2): Wins vs. Kings: 113-104, Nets: 108-98, Lost to Warriors: 104-116, Pelicans: 112-127
Games Week 11: Tues vs Nuggets | Fri vs 76ers

Russell Westbrook is still struggling from deep although he cites injuries to his fingers at season start as part of the issue. The other question begging to be asked is if the Rockets have three to four players on the court at all times who can hit the 3-ball why exactly does Russ need to as well?

His ability to drive, cut and set others up should make him different than most mid-range shooters since his playmaking removes the possibility of shutting him down completely especially if Harden is one of his recipients of those laser passes.

Which begs the question — is Harden not as comfortable in a catch and shoot role and is that what will stop the Rockets from fully recognizing how they can capitalize on using this duo to both their best strengths?

Losing to the Warriors on Christmas Day could be deemed an outlier, but then they lost to the Pelicans. Granted none of Harden, Westbrook or Capela played but when teams like the Raptors are winning games without three of their top six players, for example, it does beg the question of how deep this Rockets team is.

Or more accurately, how effective they can be without much experience when Harden isn’t playing. The fact is they are used to playing with James and either watching him dominate the ball or passing to them for catch and shoot scenarios. It sure seems like D’Antonio needs to play around with his offense a bit and that will require Harden buying into that concept. The big question is WILL HE?