Former Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale couldn't help himself but to laud his former team's new addition Chris Paul during an episode of NBA TV's Open Court, when prompted to talk about his arrival this offseason.
Paul was acquired in a trade prior to the start of free agency, which forced Houston to give up nearly half of its roster to acquire the prized point guard. Since, Paul and cornerstone James Harden have developed excellent rapport playing in offseason leagues and charity events, chemistry which has shown during their first two preseason games.
“I think it makes them a much better team because you had James Harden with the ball, he’s fantastic with the ball – the guys got phenomenal vision, James can see all the passes and do everything but James is not a leader,” said McHale. “He tried being a leader last year and doing that stuff, I think Chris Paul is going to help him do that stuff and get back to just hoop and play. On every team you need to have a voice, you have to have somebody that when he says something, everybody listens. Look, if James tells you ‘Chuck, you’ve got to play better [defense]!’ Are you going to listen to him? You’re kidding me! I lived through it, everybody in the locker room [shook their head].”
— NBA TV (@NBATV) October 6, 2017
McHale is known as one of the best power forwards of the game and has seen many a locker room from his playing and coaching days, including coaching Harden at one point.
“Chris Paul is going to push him, too,” said McHale. “When [Harden] does that stab in the back after he doesn’t get a foul looking at the referee, Chris Paul is going to jump his butt and that’s going to make him a better player. I just think that Chris Paul will be good for James Harden. It will allow him to be what he is which is a phenomenal basketball player – not trying to lead a team, that’s just not his personality.”
Only time will tell if the combination of Paul and Harden has enough prosperity to reach even greater heights, but for now — taking the responsibility of leadership could prove key for this team moving forward.