Rockets: The good, bad, and ugly of James Harden’s Rockets tenure

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
3 of 5
Houston Rockets
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Kevin Durant’s effect on the Houston Rockets

In 2016, Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors, shaking the competitive landscape of the NBA to its very core. Never since Michael Jordan’s Bulls had there been a team that seemed so unstoppable.

As a result, most of the league adopted an approach of simply waiting until the Warriors dynasty was disbanded; after all, with the advent of player empowerment, no team stayed together long. However, in the face of the seemingly unassailable Warriors, the Rockets committed to going all in on challenging them.

With the arrival of Chris Paul via trade in the 2017-18 season, the Rockets finished with a 65-17 record all the while having their eyes set toward an eventual showdown with the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. For many fans during the ‘18 season, the Rockets were more than just a good team; they were the last line of defense against the Warriors who threatened the competitive integrity of the league.

And with the national spotlight on their team, Rockets fans’ pride for their superstar continued to grow. Unfortunately though, the 2018 season did not have the ending that fans had hoped for.

After an untimely hamstring injury to Chris Paul, the Rockets lost the Western Conference Finals to the Warriors in seven games.

Next: Shielding Harden from the criticism