But for some, this rebuild was long overdue. It seemed like, regardless of their roster, the Rockets just couldn't get the job done in the playoffs. Daryl Morey gave Harden plenty of superstars to play with but it just never worked out.
Perhaps the time the Rockets were closer to fulfilling their goal was when they had Chris Paul in town. Some thought that Harden couldn't play with another ball-dominant player but, for stretches, their chemistry was just great.
Chris Paul Says He Should've Had 'Tough Conversations' With James Harden
Nonetheless, the Rockets could've been better if Harden knew when and how to delegate in the clutch. At least, that's what former All-Star Gilbert Arenas told Chris Paul in the 'No Chill Gil' Podcast.
(Transcript via ClutchPoints)
“I remember when you were over in Houston,” Arenas told Paul. “And I said, ‘The only way they make it out is if James actually understands his gift and your gift.’ As a coach, you have to have that hard talk. And the hard talk is this, ‘James, up until the fourth quarter, last five minutes, it’s your game. The last five minutes, the ball is in CP’s hands.'”
“You have to be able to have them conversations,” Paul said. “And the thing that frustrated me the most was that first year, I wasn’t healthy. It’s crazy. Them years in Houston are kinda a blur, to a certain extent, because there was so much going on at the time. But dang, we was good. We was real good.”
“And James, I still say it, can’t nobody score the ball like he can. It’s crazy, man. … I wouldn’t trade any experience or whatnot, but I wish we would’ve had some of those conversations. But most of all, I wish I would’ve been able to stay healthy.”
The Rockets could never catch a break during Paul's tenure in Houston. Injuries, though luck, bad officiating, and some ego issues got in the way. Looking back, it's sad to wonder how far they could've gotten.
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