Despite the CP3 and Harden stereotypes, they are not bad playoff performers. They are quite the opposite, actually.
Speaking of playoffs, those two are often called bad playoff performers. People are hesitant to choose the Rockets this year because of this claim. Seeing people, especially those on national television, say this is just annoying because it definitely isn’t true.
Let’s look a little bit into why they are good playoff performers, beginning with CP3:
Chris Paul’s playoff success
The fact that people think that CP3 is bad in the playoffs is maddening. If anything, he gets even better. Over the last three years in the postseason, he’s averaged 23.3 points and 8.8 assists per game on 50% shooting overall, 38% from deep.
To compare that with his regular season stats during those years, he averaged 18.9 points and 9.2 assists per game on 47% shooting, 39% from deep in that time period. He’s more efficient and more aggressive come playoff time, not a choker.
Last year, CP3 played the best playoffs of his career. He averaged 25.3 points and 9.9 assists a night with good percentages from the field and deep (50% and 37%).
He also was tied for third in clutch-time scoring (under 5 minutes to play) for the playoffs with 6.0 points a game during that time. Who was he tied with? James Harden.
James Harden’s playoff success
Harden has also been pretty good in the playoffs. Has he had some bad games at bad times? Of course, there’s no denying that. But he’s also led the Rockets on a couple of decent runs, including one to the Western Conference Finals.
Over the last three years, James Harden has averaged 27.5 points and 7.8 assists per game to go along with 5.5 rebounds as well. He’s been less efficient, 42.5% shooting and 33% from deep, but that’s bound to happen when he hasn’t played with a true second playmaker. The Beard was having to try to take over night after night. Any star would have some bad games if they were in his position.
The carrying of James Harden reached an all-time high in last year’s postseason. The Beard had a crazy 35.3 Usage %, easily tops in his career.
Like I said earlier, James Harden was tied with CP3 in clutch playoff scoring last year. He had that Game 6, yeah, but he still was clutch throughout the rest of the playoffs.
This pairing is perfect for the postseason
These two players are a perfect pairing for playoff success this year. Both have been without a secondary playmaker throughout their postseason careers thus far. CP3 has had Griffin and Harden has had Dwight, but those players are not playmaking guards.
Now, double teams shouldn’t be a huge issue for Harden if both stars are on the floor. The Beard doesn’t have to carry the team on his back in the playoffs. He can play fewer minutes and not be worn out on the last day of the playoffs, like last year.
Chris Paul gets hate for never making it to the Conference Finals. As you can see by the numbers, that certainly isn’t his fault. He’s been fantastic in the postseason and proves it each and every year.
When you see people on social media or hear people say how Harden and Paul are bad in the playoffs, show them the numbers and tell them the facts don’t back that assumption up. Or just point them to this article. That works too!