Tons of NBA teams are in need of a drastic change to fix their oddly constructed rosters. Two teams that come to mind are Houston and Philadelphia.
Houston for this entire season is a team made up of mismatch parts. Harden and Westbrook are lighting up the scoreboard, as you would expect, but their weak spots everywhere else negate this advantage. Along the way there’s been bad luck. Eric Gordon’s played only 9 games this season with a knee injury. Perhaps when he returns the Rockets won’t be so reliant on two players for all of their points. The foursome of Daniel House, Ben McLemore, Austin Rivers and P.J Tuckers have been hit or miss as revolving door third options. The shots are there, but they aren’t falling at the rate Houston needs them to. In close games the Rockets are 3-3. While they are 22-10 they are inconsistent and need to shore up their defense.
In 2016-17 Mike D’Antoni ran the offense exclusively through Harden. Everybody else not named Clint Capela were spot up shooters. Defense was not their calling card by any stretch of the imagination. Looking back, the one man show Rockets had more of an edge to them because the flow of the offense was superior. I really believe trading Chris Paul for Westbrook was a mistake. The relationship between harden and Paul was on the rocks but their Ying and Yang act worked better.
As for Philadelphia, their last two seasons have been odd to say the least. Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler almost brought the Sixers to the NBA Finals if not for a Kawhi miracle shot. But going all-in on one year cost Philadelphia pieces they need right now. Landry Shamet is a decent shooter playing the two position. Meanwhile, Dario Saric and Robert Covington are solid spot-up presence on their respective teams and are on tradable contracts.
The only actual guard the Sixers have on their roster is Josh Richardson. A defensive juggernaut. Offensively, he’s hit or miss.
The Sixers pairing of three ball dominate stars last season between Ben Simmons, Butler and Joel Embiid nearly worked as Butler was the only soul willing to stare death in the eye during the heated playoff series versus Toronto. Simmons and Embiid folded. Say what you will about Westbrook, but his heart is undeniable. That’s something lacking in Philadelphia right now.
Horford has been as advertised, but what he did in Boston isn’t the same as in Philadelphia because Embiid is their center. Horford is a center, not a power forward. Especially next to a guy like Embiid whose skill set is roughly the same. If he was next to a Capela, Horford likely is in the same situation he was when Aron Baynes was his teammate. Horford would start games at the power forward spot, and end them at center. Perhaps Capela is too one dimensional for high stakes playoff spots and someone more versatile is needed when the Lakers, Jazz, or Mavericks come to town.
76ers receive: Russell Westbrook, Austin Rivers
Rockets receive: Al Horford, Josh Richardson
Philly picks up an extra guard, Houston strengthens their defense and picks up a needed shooter to sit in the corner. The Sixers need an edge. Westbrook could be that.