As one of arguably the craziest NBA offseasons in history rolls along, it’s safe to say that the league’s best backcourt is now set. Following the blockbuster trade which sent Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets, it reunites former teammates and two top-tier stars.
Westbrook will team back up with James Harden, a duo which spent three seasons together before the latter was moved to the Rockets. Prior to the deal, Russ and Harden managed to coexist while posting strong numbers in their final year playing alongside each other, but only scratched the surface of their scary upside.
We’re going to take a look at the stats Westbrook and Harden posted during their three seasons together in Oklahoma City, with the 2011-12 season offering a small glimpse of what 2019-20 may look like.
The first year in which Westbrook and Harden teamed up was 2009-10, which was Harden’s rookie season. While Harden averaged just 9.9 and 12.2 points per game in his first two seasons and logging 22.9 and 26.7 minutes, Westbrook posted marks of 16.1 points/8.0 assists and 21.9 points/8.2 assists over that stretch.
But both players improved their scoring marks in the final season together, even with Kevin Durant averaging 28.0 points per game in 2011-12. Westbrook (23.6 points per)and Harden (16.8) had career years from a scoring standpoint (to that point), and it quickly became apparent what type of upside both players had.
In turn, this is what led to the trade which sent Harden out of town. The Thunder knew it’d be nearly impossible to pay Westbrook, Harden, Durant and Serge Ibaka, but there’s no question looking back that the deal didn’t pan out for Oklahoma City.