There is no doubt that the Houston Rockets had a big upgrade in the guard position after acquiring Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder. The former NBA MVP is a huge upgrade compared to Chris Paul. However, questions remain on how he can co-exist with a different James Harden.

Westbrook and Harden are no strangers, having been teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2009 to 2012. Their best moment was when they reached the 2012 NBA Finals alongside Kevin Durant. Unfortunately, they fell to the Miami Heat in five games. That would turn out to be Harden's last game for the Thunder, opting to join the Houston Rockets instead.

One of the bright spots there is that Harden broke out of his shell and established himself as a superstar. Westbrook would do the same four years later when Durant decided to head to Golden State. The two won NBA MVP awards and find themselves on the same team. On paper, there is no question that the Rockets are looking good. But playing on the basketball court and blending in with other players and the system of head coach Mike D'Antoni will be on the radar.

In the Houston Rockets official Instagram account, the eight-time NBA All-Star said that this was the one goal he had in mind - win an NBA title. Given their current roster, that is pretty much doable. The only problem is that there are several other teams with the same thing in mind.

The Rockets are in a stacked Western Conference that includes the vastly improved Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. Aside from the Hollywood squads, they have to contend with the dangerous Golden State Warriors and some unpredictable teams like the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz. In short, winning an NBA title will not be a stroll in the park for Westbrook, Harden and the rest.

A key element here for the Rockets is how they can keep their stars healthy. And this early, the latest is that Westbrook is expected to miss Houston's preseason opener. The 30-year-old is coming off arthroscopic knee surgery and the Rockets are taking a cautious approach, sources tell Tim McMahon of ESPN.

Shams Charania of The Athletic added that Westbrook may be out for the second preseason game as well. Hence, fans may only get to see the 4th overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft when the Rockets face the defending champion Toronto Raptors on October 8.

Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder before the game against the Los Angeles Lakers during a 107-100 Thunder win at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Jan. 2, 2019. Harry How/Getty Images