Houston Rockets: Reputations at stake for both Harden and Paul

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 16: Ryan Anderson
PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 16: Ryan Anderson /

There are only ten games left in the Houston Rockets’ season. Both Chris Paul and James Harden have both fallen short in the playoffs. Read below to see why I believe, by joining forces, they are risking their reputations.

This may be the year. After multiple seasons of disappointment for the Houston Rockets’ pair of stars , James Harden and Chris Paul have joined forces to take their games to a higher level. As the Rockets are looking more and more like favorites for this year’s championship, the Harden and Paul duo face a crossroads in their careers.

Harden’s Playoff Shortcomings

First is Harden, the guy that has been putting up MVP like numbers for a number of seasons now. Even so, the Beard has been beat to the award by other superstars and their own amazing seasons. This year the award is Harden’s to lose, but that’s not what’s at stake here.

Harden, one of the greatest offensive players in the history of the game, has a big blemish on his resume. With sub-par outings in pivotal moments such as last season’s conference finals vs the San Antonio Spurs, there is a widely shared feeling that Harden has “choked” in these moments.

So with his team’s play at an all-time high accompanied by the injury crisis plaguing the Golden

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State Warriors, Harden’s Rockets find themselves as the favorites to some for this year’s championship.

As the odds start to lean more and more in favor of Houston, the pressure will only mount. While the opportunity to accomplish something huge is there, so is the amount of backlash that will be unleashed if the team is to fail at any point before the Conference Finals.

This year represents a great opportunity for Harden to show that he is much more than a regular season wonder.

Paul’s Unfulfilled Career

For Paul, the scenario is a bit different. The fact that he has never reached a Conference Finals is one of the few holes in his impressive resume. Widely regarded as one of the all-time great point guards, there is a sense that someone as competitive as Paul should have better results in the playoffs.

His decision to leave the L.A. Clippers and join Harden had a clear motive, to win now. At 32, time is running out for Paul to win a ring. His contribution this season has been tremendous on both sides of the floor.

If the Rockets are to accomplish anything, it will be because of Paul. His extraordinary play making and attention to defense will be important come playoff time.

This team may be Harden’s, but Paul will share just as much responsibility for the team’s performance. A career without a ring for Paul would feel unfulfilled for such a tremendous talent.

Handling pressure

The season began with everyone considered underdogs to the Golden State juggernaut. But as the Warriors seem to have caught a bit of misfortune, the odds seem to be favoring the Houston Rockets.

As Stephen Curry suffered yet another injury, serious doubts about his health come playoffs have surfaced. And with the Rockets already primed to compete with the reigning champs, this injury may have tilted the tie in Houston’s favor.

With many ready to call the Rockets the new favorites, the pressure will only increase. A loss to a lesser version of the Warriors can only be seen as a failure. Harden and Paul will have to show up big time in order to avoid any sort of crumbling under the pressure.

Next: Some of the Greatest Seasons in Rockets' History

By joining together, Harden and Paul have the greatest chance to win it all in their careers. However, if they aren’t able to advance to the NBA finals both of their reputations as star players may take a hit.