Chris Paul spent six successful years with the LA Clippers before deciding to join the Houston Rockets in 2017. He recently opened up about the decision.
The last time the Houston Rockets were minutes away from an appearance in the NBA Finals, Chris Paul was the captain of the ship. One of the most unfortunately timed injuries in NBA history, however, likely prevented what could’ve been a return to championship glory.
Almost exactly three years after being traded to the Rockets, Paul talked more about what ultimately led to his decision to go from Los Angeles to Houston. Speaking with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles on the Knuckleheads podcast, Paul talked about how it went down.
“At the time, stuff was a little shaky here [in L.A.],” started Paul. “It was time for something different. It was hard because I’d been here and it became home. But you want to compete for a championship, and I didn’t think we were ready to do that. So, going to Houston made sense.”
Chris Paul’s immediate impact on the Houston Rockets
The season the Rockets had upon Paul joining proved he made the right choice in terms of wanting to contend for a title. Finishing first in the Western Conference with a gaudy 65-17 record and breezing past the first two rounds of the playoffs, Houston seemed primed to capture the Larry O’Brien before his untimely injury.
Going to a system like Mike D’Antoni’s was a thrilling idea for Paul when he arrived in Houston, as he further explained: “I was excited because I think people see you play a certain way for so long and don’t think you can adjust,” said Paul. “But I know me — I know what I’m capable of. I know I can shoot threes, I just don’t choose to shoot them all of the time.”
CP then shouted out two teammates that made the transition during his first year with the team easier. “I think what helped more than anything that first year was Tuck [P.J. Tucker]. Me and Tuck have known each other since we were 10. Then Trev [Trevor Ariza].”
While Paul’s time in Houston didn’t lead to the desired championship, the Rockets are still in the thick of things in the Western Conference after dealing him for Russell Westbrook.
Paul’s surprising Oklahoma City Thunder and Westbrook’s Rockets have already clinched playoff spots and look to move forward in the standings when the season resumes on July 30th.