The Houston Rockets shocked the NBA world this summer when they pulled off a trade for Chris Paul.
It wasn’t just the magnitude of bringing in another star of Paul’s caliber, but also the intriguing fit for Paul alongside James Harden.
In his first season under new head coach Mike D’Antoni, Harden made the switch to point guard last season, possessing the ball as much as just about anyone in the league on his way to a runner-up finish in the MVP voting.
One player who definitely challenged Harden when it came to having the ball in their hands was Paul, who has established himself as the most prototypical distributing point guard currently in the league.
It leaves some questions to be answered next season when the two try to gel together. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is not worried in the slightest, adding that they are the most complimentary teammates ever.
“This is a moment that our whole organization has been working towards to get ourselves back to a championship, and we really think this historic pairing of Chris Paul and James Harden and the great players we have around them is one that really gives us an unbelievable chance at getting back to getting our third championship. I say historic pairing, because no one has ever put together two players this smart, this complementary, and especially two of the best passers in NBA history, on one team.”
Morey brings up interesting points about the pairing. There’s no denying the intelligence of both Harden and Paul, which is something that above all else should help the two play well together.
Harden of course has had more experience playing off the ball in his career, coming into the league as a two-guard. Even as a two though, he’s always been at his best when he’s had the ball a lot, even back during his days with the Thunder when he ran the second unit so effectively, and even closed out games as the primary ball handler.
Paul’s always had the ball in his hands and his adjustment to his new role in Houston will be as interesting as anything. If the two can pull it off and blend together seamlessly, they may have the Rockets taking that next step up to legitimately challenge the Warriors.