What James Harden and Chris Paul’s chemistry was like with Rockets
James Harden and Chris Paul played two seasons together on the Houston Rockets before the franchise traded Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook in the summer of 2019.
The Rockets went to the Western Conference Finals in 2018, losing to the Golden State Warriors in seven games. Many people believe Houston may have defeated Golden State had Paul not gotten hurt in Game 5 and missed Games 6 and 7 of the series.
In Paul’s second and final season with the Rockets, Houston fell to the Warriors again in the playoffs, this time in the second round. After the series ended, multiple reports stated that Harden no longer wanted to play with Paul. The Beard was looking forward to playing with Westbrook since they were teammates on the Thunder and are very close friends off the court, so Harden was fully on board with the Paul-Westbrook trade.
According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, Harden and Paul’s chemistry was best described as “business-like” during their time in Houston. Although CP3 was a better fit with Harden than Westbrook, it appears Harden just enjoyed being around Westbrook more than Paul.
Westbrook averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists in his first season with the Rockets. Unfortunately, the 2017 MVP contracted COVID-19 before the bubble games started and then tried to play through a quad injury in the postseason which really affected his game. The Rockets lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the playoffs and are now dealing with Westbrook’s trade request.
Maybe if Harden and Paul got along a little better behind the scenes, Houston may have been able to keep CP3 in the fold.