By Landry Locker

Whether you’re optimistic or skeptical about the move there are a lot of questions that emerge following Chris Paul’s arrival in Houston. Here are the questions that crossed my mind following the trade.

Question 1: Does this really change anything in regards to the way James Harden finished the season and his performance in Game 6 of the second round of the Playoffs?

Harden had a dog-butted performance in the final game of the season, there’s no sugarcoating it. It was one of the worst playoff performances in recent history by a widely-regarded superstar and it caused many fans and members of the media to question his heart.

Are people supposed to just forget the disgraceful performance they witnessed in Game 6 now that Chris Paul is coming to town and Harden’s role is changing? That’s a lot to ask.

Question 2: Can CP3, who is widely regarded as one of the best leaders in the NBA (not sure why), be the vocal leader of this Rockets team without rubbing his teammates the wrong way?

I’ve never understood why everyone says CP3 is one of the best leaders in the game. I’m not saying he is or isn’t, but I don’t understand why Paul’s leadership is constantly mentioned when people talk about him. He’s a hell of a player, but what proof is there that he’s a good leader?

Everyone says CP3’s a great leader, but they can never tell you why.

This might be one of those telephone takes where people just copy one another and repeat what they hear on TV, but from the outside looking in the Clippers didn’t look like a team with strong leadership during Paul’s tenure. See Below.

Exhibit A: It’s one of the worst kept secrets in the NBA that many of his teammates including Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are rubbed the wrong way by him.

Exhibit B: The Clippers resembled one of the most undisciplined teams in basketball on the court and the entire team, including Paul, were constantly whining about calls and picking up technicals.

Exhibit C: There other star player broke his hand punching an equipment manager. I’m not saying this is Paul’s fault, but that kind of stuff shouldn’t happen on a team with strong leadership.

Now that I have the luxury of following and covering Paul on a daily basis I will get a better grasp of what kind of leader CP3 is. If he’s the type of leader that many people say he is then the Rockets might have just what the need. See the next question.

Question 3: How will Harden handle Paul’s intense, polarizing leadership style?

Harden isn’t a guy that’s going to lead vocally and IF Paul is the great leader that many say he is then this could be just what Harden needs. On the other hand, it could be a complete disaster and a failed one-year experiment that puts the Rockets right back where they were before the trade was made.


Question 4: The fit question: How will CP3 and Harden function together on the court?

How does Mike D’Antoni use his pieces?

Does Paul thrive in the system like many less talented point guards have in the past?

How will this backcourt play defense?

How often does Harden bring the ball up?

How will Harden handle being off the ball more?

There are a lot of X and O questions that come with this trade, but I’ll save the nerdy analysis for when we get closer to the season.


Question 5: Does Paul feel like an A-Hole for locking DeAndre Jordan in his house and helping convince him to stay with the Clippers two summers ago?

This is probably the question that I’m most amused by.

Question 6: How underpaid does Patrick Beverley feel now that he has to pay the California state income tax?

This is probably the question I’m second most amused by. Beverley was already underpaid by today’s NBA standards and now he’s moving from a state with no state income tax to a state with a high income tax. Some find it hard to feel sorry for millionaires, but damn, that sucks.


Question 7: What was Mark Cuban thinking when he saw the news of the trade?

In 2011 the Dallas Mavericks owner was extremely confident that his grasp of the new CBA would put his organization in position to land big-name talent around their aging superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, and justify his decision to breakup the 2011 NBA Championship team.

Instead the Mavericks front office has been incompetent in every way possible since 2011.

Since 2011 here are just a few things the Mavericks front office has done:

  • Traded for Lamar Odom in 2011
  • Overpaid Chandler Parsons in 2014
  • Traded for Rajon Rondo in 2015
  • Had DeAndre Jordan change his mind in 2015
  • Gave Wesley Matthews a max contract after Jordan changed his mind
  • Haven’t been out of the first round of the playoffs and missed the playoffs altogether two of the six seasons.

Meanwhile Daryl Morey, who has a friendly rivalry with Cuban, has been able to trade for James Harden and Chris Paul without giving up much to do so and although the Dwight Howard experiment didn’t go as well as some had hoped it would the Rockets did beat out the Mavericks to land him.

I wonder what Cuban did when he heard the news about his rival acquiring Paul.

Question 8: Who is Stephen Curry going to guard when the Rockets face Golden State?

Remember when Kevin Durant mocked Steph Curry’s defense when he was in Oklahoma City? If you didn’t click on the video above.

No logical person thinks that acquiring Paul puts the Rockets above the Warriors in the Western Conference. However, I do wonder who exactly Curry is going to guard when the Rockets face Golden State during the 2017-18 season. Golden State does a good job hiding him on defense at times, but with Harden and Paul in the back court that seems more difficult to do, which would give the Rockets a significant mismatch on offense. Unless the Warriors decide to hide Curry on Trevor Ariza.

This question is even more interesting if Andre Iguodala, who reportedly is getting a lot of interest around the league, leaves Golden State this summer.

Question 9: What’s next?

This isn’t the only move the Rockets are going to make this summer, not by a longshot. The names Blake Griffin, Paul Millsap and Paul George are being thrown around. It will be interesting to see what Daryl Morey does next.

You can contact Landry Locker at or follow him on Twitter.


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