Rivals don’t believe Harden-Westbrook pairing will work

Russell Westbrook and James will be sharing backcourt duties for the Rockets this season.

Scouts and assistant coaches from rival teams don’t seem to believe in the Houston Rockets.

Or more specifically, some scouts don’t believe that a James HardenRussell Westbrook pairing will work in the Rockets backcourt, according to an in-depth piece by Sean Deveney of Heavy.com.

And some predicted the Rockets will be worse than last season after acquiring Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder this summer.

“They’re not better than the Lakers or Clippers. They’re not better than Utah or Denver,” an opposing Western Conference assistant told Deveney. “They’re maybe better than Portland. Who knows how the Warriors will look? So you’re looking at a No. 6 seed, maybe No. 5 at best or seven-eight at worst.”

As for the pairing of high-volume stars Harden and Westbrook specifically, well, let’s just say the endorsements weren’t exactly ringing.

“Maybe it will all work out and when you have Westbrook and Harden both saying they’re willing to sacrifice, maybe they will,” a West scout told Deveney. “But they’re both hardheaded guys and we know Harden’s history with other players there.”