Chris Paul had discussions with Mike D’Antoni during season about incorporating more movement on offense
The Houston Rockets fell short of their goal of dethroning the Golden State Warriors, despite staying loyal to their isolation-heavy style of play, as well as living and eventually dying by the three. Ironically, Chris Paul had approached head coach Mike D’Antoni in hopes to somewhat bend the system revolving around James Harden and incorporating more movement in their offense, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
“There was something of a clash of styles brewing throughout the Rockets season, with members of the team — most notably Paul — having spirited discussions with Mike D’Antoni about the offense and pushing for more movement,” wrote Charania. “That type of fast-paced, ball-moving offense is what D’Antoni thrived with in Phoenix, and to the two-time Coach of the Year’s credit, he has adapted it in Houston to allow Harden to succeed in his game.”
The 68-year-old coach has at times grown enamored by Harden’s brilliance and dominance in the one-on-one game, making that his bread and butter throughout the regular season, but the Rockets faced a much bigger problem against a capable Warriors team that had multiple defenders zone-in on Harden, combining length, strength, and havoc in hopes to stop him.
Paul has seen his career numbers nosedive under D’Antoni’s system, one that constantly takes the ball out of his hands in favor of Harden when the two are on the court. Yet the Rockets have proven to be at their most effective when Paul is quarterbacking the offense without Harden, a more fluid example of what D’Antoni is capable of building when not fixated on Harden’s high-octane exploits.
The Rockets did not have exit meetings like most of the league did and it is unlikely that questions about a change in the system will be answered until next season.
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