James Harden and Russell Westbrook didn’t travel to the Orlando Bubble with the team but are expected to join the team soon.
The Houston Rockets arrived at the NBA Bubble in Orlando on Thursday. But they were missing their All-stars, James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Why did James Harden and Russell Westbrook not travel with team to Orlando
As per Shams Charania, both the MVP’s did not travel with the team but are expected to join the team soon. Both will be traveling on their own.
It could be that Harden and Westbrook are taking caution with their travels to avoid any risk of getting infected by Covid-19. Lots of athletes have anyway expressed concerns over the NBA bubble and hence will be taking utmost precautions while playing there and even before getting there.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 9, 2020
Luc Mbah a Moute and assistant coach John Lucas also didn’t travel with the team and are expected to arrange their own travels and join the team.
There were concerns over the risk of infection of the Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni due to his age. But the Rockets coach did travel with the team.
The 69-year-old is yet to be cleared by the NBA to coach at the Bubble, as older people are at more risk of getting infected by Covid-19.
Harden and Westbrook in the best shape of their careers
Both the MVP’s have worked tremendously hard on their fitness during the 4-month break.
“Now, Houston becomes even scarier. With both of these guys, they can run you out the gym.”
—Dwayne Wade on James Harden and Russell Westbrook getting in shape during the lockdown
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) July 8, 2020
Miami Heat legend Dwayne Wade said “Now, Houston becomes even scarier. With both of these guys, they can run you out of the gym.” Talking about the improved physique of both the Rockets stars.
Social media was flooded with workout photos and videos of both Harden and Westbrook during the lockdown.
It looks like James Harden has lost some serious lbs pic.twitter.com/bJLd53lk1P
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) May 23, 2020
What to expect from the Rockets in the Bubble?
The Rockets currently sit 6th in the western conference ahead of the restart. It isn’t the position the team would have hoped to be in.
But now with a long break and improved fitness of Harden and Westbrook, Rockets would be hoping to go deep into the playoffs and even try and surprise everyone by being one of the “dark horses”O to win the championship.
Harden is averaging 34.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 7.4 assists so far this season. Harden is the highest-scoring player in the league.
Whereas, Westbrook is averaging 27.5 points, 8 boards, and 7 assists so far this season.
The break would have been beneficial for both of them. Especially for Harden who looked tired and lacked the scoring touch in his last few games.
The Rockers restart their campaign on 31st July against the Dallas Mavericks.