Despite losing Chris Paul to an injury, James Harden succeeded to turn things around for the Houston Rockets. The 29-year-old shooting guard managed to regain his MVP form and is currently averaging 33.9 points, 8.6 assists, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals on 43.6 percent shooting from the field and 38.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc. From being one of the worst NBA teams earlier this season, the Rockets are now sitting in the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference with a 23-17.
However, the Rockets must be aware that James Harden can do it all alone. Before the real battle begins in the Western Conference Playoffs, the Rockets should give Harden all the help he needs and address the major issues on their roster. One of the areas that the Rockets should improve is their wing.
The departure of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute has left the Rockets a huge hole in their wing. Since the 2018 NBA offseason, the Rockets have been aggressive on the trade market, searching for a defensive-minded player. According to Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report, one of the potential targets for the Rockets before the February NBA trade deadline is Kent Bazemore of the Atlanta Hawks.
“The Rockets need bodies on the wing, preferably ones that can shoot and defend against strong competition. And if one such body happens to have a history with Golden State that might motivate him and/or increase his comfort level in high-pressure situations, all the better. Bazemore, who started his career in Golden State, fits the bill. His long-range accuracy is down this year after peaking at 39.4 percent in 2017-18, and he’s currently out with an ankle injury. But the 29-year-old wing is comfortable shooting threes at a high volume and would benefit from the perma-green light shining in Houston.”
Source: Rockets still active in trade market looking for defensive wings, have interest in Kent Bazemore https://t.co/NeLRiuDXdq— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) July 31, 2018
In the proposed trade deal, the Rockets will be sending Brandon Knight and a 2019 first-round pick to the Hawks for Kent Bazemore. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
A healthy Bazemore will undeniably address the Rockets’ problem in the wing which could give them a better chance of beating the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, in a best-of-seven series. Before he suffered an ankle injury, Bazemore is averaging 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.7 steals on 44.1 percent shooting from the field and 32.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
The Hawks wouldn’t mind absorbing Brandon Knight’s contract as long as they will receive a future draft asset as compensation. The 2019 first-round pick will enable the Hawks to add another young and promising talent that could help them speed up the rebuilding process.