On Monday, it was confirmed that Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook tested positive for the coronavirus. It was announced that he tested positive before the team departed to Orlando.
He plans to join his team in the NBA bubble in Orlando after he is cleared from the coronavirus and posted some meaningful words on social media.
“I tested positive for COVID-19 prior to my team’s departure to Orlando,” he posted on Twitter. “I’m currently feeling well, quarantined, and looking forward to rejoining my teammates when I am cleared. Please take this virus seriously. Be safe. Mask up!”
It was reported that the point guard was partying at a Las Vegas club exactly one month before he tested positive. He was seen poolside at Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas. NFL running back Reggie Bush was also with him at the party.
Impact On The Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets are currently the sixth seed in the Western Conference and have clinched the playoff spot. If the season were to finish right now, they would face the Denver Nuggets, who are currently the third seed, in the first round of playoffs.
I believe that the Nuggets are the ideal matchup for the Rockets. Houston heavily relies on its offense and has a fairly big advantage with its backcourt of Westbrook and James Harden against the Nuggets, who have Jamal Murray and Gary Harris.
Nikola Jokic, who arrived in Orlando after being cleared from the coronavirus, is a big threat to them. However, Houston’s small lineup can use their speed and offense to their advantage.
Without Westbrook and Harden in Orlando, the Rockets would not have their original starting five and cannot guarantee that they will do good as before. Since the team is already in the playoffs, they do not have any reason to play their fullest or try to win all remaining games.
However, if they fall down to the seventh or eighth seed, they would face one of the top contenders in the Western Conference playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers or LA Clippers. Therefore, they should try to remain sixth or move even higher to avoid meeting such strong contenders in the first round.
They are only three wins behind the Nuggets, so they might have a chance to go higher in the Western Conference standings.
According to Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, he believes that the delayed arrival of the superstar will not have a significant impact on the team as Westbrook will be back before the playoffs begin.
Westbrook with the Rockets
In his first season with the Rockets, Westbrook has not performed as well as analysts expected. The team was unable to cooperate with each other and suffered on offense. He was taking tough contested shots, increased his three-point attempts and missed buckets from outside of the paint.
However, Westbrook soon established himself on the team with his former teammate and friend Harden. They have great chemistry as they played together in Oklahoma City for three years.
In February, Westbrook helped the team to a 7-1 record and averaged 32.3 points while shooting 54% from the field.
After trading center Clint Capela, the Rockets were playing micro ball, and it helped Westbrook on the offensive end. He tallied 31 points per game since then and increased his shooting parentage to 57.5%. With smarter plays and efficient scoring, he was able to help lead the team to the playoffs.
His incredible contributions helped the team win 40 games with 24 losses. Westbrook scored 20 or more points in 27 consecutive games this season and had four games with 40 or more points. Thus far, he is averaging 27.5 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.