Rockets' Updated Roster, Starting Lineup After John Wall Trade

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2020

Washington Wizards guard John Wall gestures after hitting a 3-point basket during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Washington. The Wizards won 102-88. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets traded point guard Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall and a future first-round pick on Wednesday.

So, with Wednesday's major deal, what does Houston's updated depth chart look like?

  • PG: John Wall, Eric Gordon, Chris Clemons, Jerian Grant
  • SG: James Harden, Sterling Brown, Jerian Grant
  • SF: Danuel House Jr., Ben McLemore, Gerald Green, David Nwaba, Kenyon Martin Jr.
  • PF: P.J. Tucker, Bruno Caboclo, Kenny Wooten
  • C: Christian Wood, DeMarcus Cousins

The Rockets are going to play differently from the 2019-20 season, with a new head coach (Stephen Silas) and actual big men on the roster in Wood and Cousins. How about that Wall and Cousins reunion, too?

Going from Westbrook to Wall won't represent much of a stylistic change, however, as Wall has traditionally been excellent at getting to the rim, a blur in transition, a relatively poor perimeter shooter (32.4 percent from three in his career) and an excellent playmaker (9.2 assists per game in his career).

Wall is coming off a ruptured Achilles that cost him all of last season and that, combined with the fact that he is 30 years old, has led to major questions about whether the five-time All-Star will have the same explosiveness that made him so effective early in his career.

There are also questions about whether he'll be any better of a fit next to Harden, who also likes to operate with the ball in his hands in the half court. Granted, it's possible that Wednesday's trade is simply the precursor to a bigger, more landscape-changing Harden trade, though it appears the Rockets intend to move forward with Harden:

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If that holds true, Harden is going to have to adjust to a different style of play. The additions of players like Wood and Cousins means the team's small-ball days are over or at least will be utilized less frequently. And while the Rockets have been very good in recent years, their heavy reliance on Harden's isolation prowess has hurt them in the postseason.

Having Harden play off the ball more might be the best way to both maximize Wall's skill set and create a more fluid, dynamic offense, something the Rockets have needed to do anyway.

Gordon said Silas' plan is to improve that aspect of Houston's offense, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

"He definitely expects a lot of ball movement. He wants to see everybody do well. He wants everybody to succeed in every game. He has high expectations for every player. You know, he wants to maximize everybody on this team, and that's how I feel like all the time. You know we've had some special teams since I've been here. But I've been saying it for years; we're impossible to stop once we’re moving the ball and everybody's flowing."

So long as Harden remains in Houston, the Rockets are a threat to reach the postseason. Wall is arguably a downgrade from Westbrook, but given that the 32-year-old wanted a change of scenery after just one year with Harden, the move could be a net-plus from a chemistry perspective.

Or, more major changes are coming after an already transformational offseason for the Rockets.