James Harden, Chris Paul already making strides in chemistry during offseason
The two played in the same team in the Drew League, a tradition of Harden’s, but one Paul had not been a part of during his six years as an L.A. Clipper, despite being right in his backyard. This disposition has shown Paul’s effort to take this chemistry past the workouts and into the hardwood, to see just how two ball-dominant players can glue together in the backcourt.
Harden and Paul have communicated daily and even worked out together, trying to jell from early on and bring an already established sense of substance to this brand new team, which has let go of more than half of last year’s faces to make this partnership happen.
“In any relationship or partnership, you need to have communication,” Harden told Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated’s The Crossover. “You’ve got to know that person. Me and Chris have communicated every single day. We’ve worked out several times already, just to build that relationship, that togetherness before training camp hits. Once it starts, we’ll be rolling already.”
General manager Daryl Morey admitted than acquiring Paul wasn’t a matter of his vision of the two fitting together, but rather trusting that two elite-caliber players will figure it out among each other in order to win.
“Generally, when you’re looking at long-term acquisitions of top-10 players in the league, it’s better to not be too selective and then work out the best way to create synergy second,” Morey said.
Both Paul and Harden know the great gap in talent shown in this past postseason, as the Golden State Warriors swept their way to the NBA Finals and closed out a 16-1 run to an eventual championship, making a task to dethrone them a rather direct, but challenging one.
“They’re really, really talented, but the chemistry that they’ve built the last few years is what makes everything mesh,” Morey added. “Adding Chris, it’s going to take some time, but we’re trying to get ahead of the game right now in the summer. It’s chemistry and talent (together), that’s when you’ve got something special.”