Southwest Notes: Harden, Self, Ingram, Luka

After Russell Westbrook joined James Harden in the backcourt for the new-look 2019/20 Rockets, the team’s offense struggled with counters against half-court double team Harden traps from smart teams like the Nuggets, The Athletic’s Kelly Iko writes.

Iko details how coach Mike D’Antoni, Harden, Westbrook, and their Rockets teammates devised clever solutions to counter the traps. “We figured out a way it’s going to work for us,” wing Danuel House told Iko. “All we gotta do is be ready to knock … shots down or make the right reads. If we don’t have the shot, pass it or drive to get someone else a shot.”

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Kansas head coach Bill Self responded to chatter from ESPN’s Seth Greenberg and The Athletic’s Sam Amick and John Hollinger that he is being considered to replace Spurs coach Gregg Popovich when the five-time NBA champion eventually retires. “There’s absolutely zero truth to that,” Self said, according to The Kansas City Star’s Gary Bedore. “The thing that cracks me up about some media types is the more outlandish things you can say … what it was, was [Greenberg’s] ‘Bold Predictions for 2020 [segment].’ You grab something or throw something against the wall and hope something sticks.”
  • Pelicans star forward Brandon Ingram has been having a breakout season in New Orleans, averaging 25.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 3.8 APG this year. Andrew Lopez of ESPN takes a look at how Ingram, in the final season of his rookie contract, has carved out a place for himself on his new team. The 22-year-old, who will be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2020, was just named the NBA’s Western Conference Player of the Week.
  • Clippers consultant Jerry West has very high praise for rising Mavericks star Luka DoncicKevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News reports. “One player has transformed them into a playoff team,” West said. “[Doncic] will be the best player Dallas has ever had… I have great respect for [Dirk] Nowitzki, but Dirk is not him.” West has won nine titles as a player and executive in a storied Hall-of-Fame career.
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8 thoughts on “Southwest Notes: Harden, Self, Ingram, Luka

  1. Spike4christ

    Jerry West is the best of the NBA. A great judge of talent As well. He is a winner!

  2. El Don

    Dirk was one of the best players ever, but… Luka is already better than Dirk ever was, make no mistake about it!

      • andremets

        Even more impressive is that Dirk probably had the worse supporting cast for a team that won the championship in the past 20 years…maybe Cleveland in their one year.

      • jump shot

        Actually, u can’t compare their careers yet but u certainly can compare them as players. So, these assessments are legit, imo.

        • Natergater77

          What you say is, Luka has the potential to be better.

          No one says Drazen Petrovic is the greatest Net ever. They say he would or could have been. I will say currently the supporting cast minus KP is similar to the championship team

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      Absolutely ridiculous statement. No one is saying that Harden is already better than Olajuwon, but at least you could make a case for it.

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