[Debbie Downer] Forbes: Why Chris Paul and James Harden Together Isn't As Great As We All Want

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Hippieloser, Jun 29, 2017.

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  1. Hippieloser

    Hippieloser Contributing Member

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    Tim Wood at Forbes rains on our parade:
    Stop the presses, we have another superteam in the making. Or do we?

    Despite recent debate that the concept began in the '60s and '80s with the Celtics and Lakers, the truest definition of this term — established superstars in their prime joining forces — is a new phenomenon. And yet, it's happening so much in today's NBA that we are almost numb to the term.

    It's a great narrative, it gets clicks and every team's front office seems to be angling to one-up each other for the next superteam headline. The latest example is the Chris Paul trade to the Houston Rockets.

    Yes, putting Paul in the same backcourt as MVP-in-any-other-season James Harden creates an assist duo unlike the NBA has ever seen. But what has it truly done for the Rockets? That's the underbelly of the trade that few really want to acknowledge in the early analysis of the deal.

    Let's start with age. Chris Paul is 32. By NBA standards, this isn't over the hill. But we're not talking about CP3 in his prime. He played 61 games last season, his lowest total since 2011-12. His minutes per game (31.5) were the lowest of his career, perhaps just a part of the overall trend of sitting stars more during the regular season.

    But if we're trying to say that we've put together a superteam backcourt here, I'd argue it's just not the case. Harden and Paul are too alike. There, I said it. And it's not because they are seemingly both so unselfish. The reality is Harden finished first and Paul seventh last season in ball time of possession.

    And then what if both want to play off the point and be the shooting option? Harden is far from your traditional point guard and likely sees Paul's arrival as an opportunity to play 2 or 3 more. But early buzz post-trade has been that Paul was attracted to Houston by the possibility of playing off ball more himself.

    Daryl Morey has worked a lot of wonders in his time in Houston, so he has earned a lot of "In Daryl We Trust" wiggle room. But the reality is his Moneyball approach has not won titles. He hasn't taken the Rockets to the NBA Finals and has made just one conference final during his decade-long tenure. They have lost four times in the first round and missed the playoffs all together three times.

    To me, this feels more like a win-now desperation move to keep up the Warrior Joneses than a sound long-term investment. You have a foursome of Curry, Durant, Thompson and Green in their prime. It's no match. Listening to Rockets brass announce the trade, their explanation that they're simply trying to keep up in the NBA weapons race is a great sound bite but not sound roster planning.

    D'Antoni is best when he is allowed to experiment with matchups and coach younger players into his shoot-quick system. Will a far-from-durable Paul truly be up for that style of play and if not, can D'Antoni quickly pivot to play to Paul's strengths?

    The most telling stat here is looking at FiveThirtyEight's assessment that yields one more win for the Rockets than last season. When I look at this trade, I feel like that's being extremely generous. Vegas is equally lukewarm to the deal, as SportsBookReview.com points out that the Rockets went from 25-to-1 to 15-to-1 odds. Translation: the Rockets went from mid-level longshot to, well, just a longshot. Doesn't exactly inspire you to print the 2018 NBA Champions t-shirts, does it?

    If you want to sell me on this deal as being a great keep-away move, I will buy that. Paul in a proven-winner environment in San Antonio with Popovich and weapons like Kawhi and LaMarcus to feed was a scary prospect. So in merely blocking that deal from happening, that's a win.

    Here, you're injecting a player who has been at the forefront of an underperforming superteam trio with the Clippers into a team that has yet to figure out the formula for making that next step into the NBA elite. Argue that injuries derailed what could have been all you want, but numbers and trophy counts don't lie.

    The entire NBA is rooting for D'Antoni. He's a nice guy that has endured a pair of high-profile raw deals in New York and L.A., but I fear he's being set up to fail once again here.

    Paul has never propelled his team to live up to the hype in the NBA. When I think of Paul, I think of one of the biggest team choke jobs in sports history. The Clippers lost in seven games to the Rockets in the second round in the 2015 playoffs, the height of the epic fail blowing a 19-point third quarter lead in Game 6. You don't think of Paul's buzzer-beater, game-winning Game 7 shot in the first round against the Spurs. I really want to, because his gutsiness with a bad hammy was stuff of Willis Reed-level legend. But history won't allow it.

    Paul is defined by a lot of "what ifs" in his NBA career. So asking any true NBA fan to expect that baggage to melt away into a magical melding with D'Antoni, Harden and a middling supporting cast, it's asking a big leap of faith that neither Paul nor the Rockets have earned.

    Tim Wood is the former managing editor of Bleacher Report and the founder of Pix Populi Sports. Follow Pix Populi on Twitter @PixPopuliSports.
     
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  2. FTW Rockets FTW

    FTW Rockets FTW Contributing Member

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  3. Astrodome

    Astrodome Member

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    Definitely not reading that today. Maybe in July.
     
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  4. apollo33

    apollo33 Member

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    In the league you either swing for the fences, you die like the rest of the chumps that won't ever have a chance to win. When you have a star to pair your star with, you do it and don't look back. Especially given the current landscape, non super team do not win.

    Getting paul and failing is better than having role players
     
  5. SemisolidSnake

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  6. Os Trigonum

    Os Trigonum Contributing Member

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  7. kevC

    kevC Contributing Member

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    When I think sports opinions, I definitely think of Forbes. :rolleyes:
     
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  8. Rodman23

    Rodman23 .GIF

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    Must be a spurs fan
     
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  9. Snow Villiers

    Snow Villiers Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  10. elmotsangtt

    elmotsangtt Member

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    W
    We want top 10 score leader. Those are real big 3. Out of top 10, those are average players only. We should look for the 3rd player, if he is west brooks, cousions, davis, then we can become champion
     
  11. Richie_Rich

    Richie_Rich Member

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    Click bait for salty LAC, SAS, DAL, CLE, GSW fans.

    Nothing to see here.
     
  12. Hippieloser

    Hippieloser Contributing Member

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    I don't agree that it's just clickbait. They writer makes some valid points, even if they amount to a worst-case scenario. Paul, Harden, and D'Antoni have a lot left to prove when it comes to contention.

    That said, if you can get Chris Paul, you get Chris Paul. I love Pat Beverley, but no one on the planet thinks Paul isn't a massive upgrade. Dekker and Harrell were ok, but there are more bench forwards where they came from. Most importantly, the Rockets are set up to chase a third star. Who wouldn't want to play with Chris Paul?
     
  13. Pen15clubber

    Pen15clubber Member

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    I adore West Brooks and Cousions
     
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  14. onreego

    onreego Member

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    I don't know about you guys but I kind of want the media to have a negative opinion. They thought we would barely scrape by this last season and look how that turned out.
     
  15. Trufan55

    Trufan55 Member

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    The desperation part of the article was interesting. I think it only has validity because of Paul's age, contract situation, and what we had to give up to get him. But I don't think you can be upset that the Rockets are trying unconventional things to compete with the Warriors as long as they have a plan B in case plan A decides he doesn't want to be a Rocket nxt year.
     
  16. knote32

    knote32 Contributing Member

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    This guy is vastly underrating the greatness of Chris Paul. He is a master manipulator of tempo.

    Dude is just a complete monster. The calls we will be getting from the refs alone will make us WAY better.
     
  17. JD88

    JD88 Member

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    No mention of how Steve Nash won MVP's in his late 30's.

    No mention of Lillard/CJ both taking a **** load of shots.

    No mention of how we aren't finished yet.

    No mention of how Harden WANTED Paul to come to Houston.

    No mention of how Paul said sharing ball handling duties was a factor in coming.

    Cool article. Wouldn't read again.
     
  18. REEKO_HTOWN

    REEKO_HTOWN Contributing Member

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    alethios likes this.
  19. Pizza_Da_Hut

    Pizza_Da_Hut Member

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    So the consensus seems to be not to read the article. Got it.
     
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  20. UTAllTheWay

    UTAllTheWay Member

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    Hey fun fact, Harden and Paul led the league in "time of possession" because they didn't have anybody else that could do it.

    Sort of like when LeBron and Wade joined together. Both were at the top of the league in Usage%. Put them together? They go to the Finals and win 2 rings.

    When you want to win, you make it work.
     
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