Although it didn’t lead to any titles, Steve Nash believes Chris Paul’s stint with the Houston Rockets was a success.
When the Houston Rockets acquired Chris Paul, it was clear they were loading up to try and dethrone the Golden State Warriors. Rockets GM Daryl Morey also added P.J. Tucker, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Gerald Green to join forces with CP3 and James Harden, which bolstered the Rockets’ title chances.
The CP3-Harden pairing was instantly successful, as the Rockets had the top seed in the Western Conference, along with the best record in the league. The Rockets went 65-27, which set a franchise-record for most wins in a season.
The Rockets made it to the Western Conference Finals in their first season and were well on their way to eliminating the Warriors and advancing to the NBA Finals, up until CP3 suffered a hamstring injury, which killed all hope of making it past the Dubs. The Rockets got off to a slow start the following year, as they were 11-14 through the first 25 games, and really struggled to adapt without the services of Trevor Ariza.
The Rockets also dealt with a myriad of injuries during the 2018-19 season, but ultimately finished with a 53-29 record, which landed them the fourth spot in the Western Conference.
The Rockets ran up against the Golden State Warriors yet again, although this time they faced off a round earlier, as they sparred in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Rockets were ultimately eliminated within six games, and traded Chris Paul in the following offseason, in a deal that brought 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook to Houston.
For many, the decision to send CP3 packing meant the CP3-Harden duo was unsuccessful, as the Rockets ultimately failed to win a title and/or get past the Warriors. But two-time MVP Steve Nash believes just the opposite, as he explained on the Knuckleheads podcast with Darius Miles and his former teammate Quentin Richardson.
Steve Nash believes Chris Paul’s stint with the Rockets was successful
“People saying that James and Chris didn’t work are wrong. When you look at the Warriors, they were historically great. The Rockets brought Chris Paul in and they got this close to beating a historically great team. And they came from not really in the same ballpark. That doesn’t mean it didn’t work. That means it worked extraordinarily well, they just never got over the hump.”
Nash is certainly right, as the Rockets were defeated by the superteam Warriors in consecutive years. There’s certainly no shame in losing to a team that has four surefire Hall of Famers, and potentially a fifth, depending on what you think about Andre Iguodala.
Nash also makes a good point in that the Houston Rockets weren’t nearly as close to beating the Warriors before they acquired Chris Paul as they were with him on the team. The CP3-Russ trade has worked out fairly well for both teams, which rarely happens in sports.
Both CP3 and Russell Westbrook made the All-Star team this season, and both the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets have an identical 40-24 record heading into the league’s restart. It’ll be interesting to see where the Rockets finish in the standings after the regular season concludes, as they’ve got eight games to rise in the standings.