Houston Rockets: James Harden and Chris Paul conflict should invoke changes

Houston Rockets guards James Harden and Chris Paul (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets guards James Harden and Chris Paul (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets guards James Harden and Chris Paul reportedly got into a heated exchange after their season elimination May 10. Will this invoke change?

The Houston Rockets offseason drama just get juicer by the day as if it’s the latest episode of As the World Turns with our star players, the head coach and the Houston Rockets brass as the main characters of the cast.

Who is the protagonist?  How about the antagonist?  I’m sure you’ll get a healthy debate on both ends of the spectrum b, t to say the least, it’s going to a hell of an offseason, even if nothing much happens in terms of change.

But you know what?  Things have to change as millions of dollars have been invested in the success of the Houston Rockets and it would be unacceptable for them to have the same results as last season.  You want improvement year-over-year and stagnation is something that cannot happen.

After the Houston Rockets elimination from the postseason back May 10, NBA Insider Shams Charania reported that there was an heated exchange between James Harden and Chris Paul in regard to the difference of philosophy of how this offense should be run.

Paul apparently has a problem with the Houston Rockets running so much isolation around Harden, causing the offense to stall and not be as robust as it could be.

I actually agree with Paul on this one as I think this team could be deadly if the ball keeps moving around until the best opportunity to strike is offered.

What happened to D’Antoni’s seven seconds or less mantra?  It was more like 24 seconds or less as the team had a myriad of shot clock violations as a result of stagnancy.

What I’m thinking is that Mike D’Antoni wasn’t confident that the supporting cast would be able to make their shots and with as fast as the Golden State Warriors are, they could be looking at a deficit quite quickly that they’d have to overcome.

I’m sure the Houston Rockets analytics department have run the numbers but I’m positive they get a lot of points production from Harden off isolation plays and he led the league in that stat back in 2017-18 and it was likely the case for this past season as well.

It’s okay to have these types of conflicts because it’s healthy for the soul of the team but with Paul feeling so strongly about change, it should happen.

I’ve tirelessly pushed for the Houston Rockets have more ball movement because it’s just the way

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basketball should be — all five players working in conjunction to meet a common goal of winning games.  When the ball moves along with stout defense, the likelihood one wins increases with each play.

But with the team being 2nd in offensive efficiency in 2018-19 yielding 112.5 points per 100 possessions, D’Antoni felt that it wasn’t much of an issue to change up the playbook.  However, the team dropped to 107.8 points per 100 in the postseason — good for 5th best among playoff teams — a full 4.7 points lower than the regular season.  That certainly means that the heavy use of isolation had a noticeable effect on team production on offense.

Harden averaged 31.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 2.2 steals per game while shooting .413/.350/.837, his best performance in the playoffs in his career thus far.

But if it’s not helping the team get to its goal of winning a championship, that individual accolade doesn’t matter.

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I’m really hoping that changes are made with this or else this team will be on the short end of the stick once again next season.

Let’s keep those fingers crossed…

Go Rockets!