Prior to the start of free agency, the Houston Rockets made a huge splash by landing All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers.
It has paired him together with another All-Star guard in James Harden, which has immediately raised questions about how it may work out next season. During a recent interview with Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Kevin Durant voiced confidence that he believes the newly formed backcourt duo will figure out a way to balance things out.
It is interesting. You have two guys that really enjoy handling the basketball but really know how hard it is to do that for 40 minutes a night, 82 games, plus 16 in the playoffs. They love handling the ball, but they know how tiring it is. They need each other to take the pressure off.
James wants to catch and shoot. I think that’s what all great players want to do. They don’t want to dribble 100 percent of the time. They want to go 50/50, sometimes catch and shoot and let teammates create. I feel they both want to do that now and I think it’s going to work extremely well because they’re both unselfish and can shoot. They’ve got real skills, so I think it’s going to be great for the league and obviously great for Houston.
This move will require much sacrifice and willingness to change from both players, who were previously the primary ball handlers for their respective teams. In essence, they must find a way to effectively work without the ball while sharing the workload as the orchestrators of the offense.
Although Paul is the more likely candidate to grab a little more of duties as a distributor, Harden has shown throughout his time in Houston that he can be an effective playmaker with the ball in his hands. It’s something that can only be worked out with playing with each other on the court in practice and during games.
In the meantime, this new pairing has the potential to create another powerhouse in the Western Conference that could challenge Durant and Golden State Warriors.