Brian Windhorst tells story of James Harden, Chris Paul getting into it during Rockets-Warriors series
Prior to the deal that sent Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Russell Westbrook, there had reportedly been tension between Paul and fellow Houston Rockets star James Harden.
On an episode of “Brian Windhorst and The Hoop Collective,” Windhorst discusses an incident between Harden and Paul getting into a verbal bout during the Rockets’ Western Conference semifinal against the Golden State Warriors:
Although Paul was especially insistent that there was no ill will between himself and “The Beard,” the numbers seem to suggest that they simply were not the right pairing on the floor.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer recently did a breakdown of Paul’s numbers when he shared the floor with Harden versus Harden being on the bench, and the discrepancy is rather staggering:
Chris Paul last year with James Harden off the floor (per 36 minutes):
58.1% true shooting
Paul with Harden on the floor (per 36):
54% true shooting
Durability is a concern with CP3, but he can still play.
— Kevin O’Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) July 12, 2019
Of course, this did not do any good for the Rockets last season given that the offense still ran through Harden, who carried them during the regular season when Paul was sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Still, these numbers could serve as a boon for Paul should he negotiate a potential buyout with the Thunder, who are still finding ways to possibly offload some of his massive contract.
LeBron James has expressed a desire to play point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, but he would likely love to see his fellow “Banana Boat” member starting at the point in the Purple and Gold.
Meanwhile, this provokes further questions as to how both Westbrook and Harden–two players with some of the highest usage rates in NBA history–will coexist on the floor.
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