Russell Westbrook has played better since the Houston Rockets moved to a small-ball lineup.
“The whole point of trading Clint Capela was to maximize Russell Westbrook,” said Tim MacMahon on The Hoop Collective Podcast. “Just because having two non-shooters on the floor with James Harden in that system, it was clunky. All the analytics backed up the Rockets’ decision in a small window of this season right now: they were better without Capela off the floor than with him on the floor.”
The Rockets are vulnerable to scoring big men defensively and on the glass, but MacMahon points out how teams have had to adjust to their small-ball system rather than the other way around so far.
“They’re all-in on this,” said MacMahon. “Analytically it makes sense.”
MacMahon, however, argues that Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets could be the matchups Houston doesn’t have an answer for.
MacMahon also added that the trade was not motivated by luxury tax avoidance.
“This was a trade Mike D’Antoni wanted. He wanted to go all-in on small-ball,” added MacMahon. “This was a trade Daryl Morey (wanted).”