It now feels a lifetime away since Chris Paul was a member of the Houston Rockets — especially now that he’s joined the Washington Wizards as part of the Bradley Beal blockbuster trade with the Phoenix Suns. To be exact, it has been four years since CP3 left Houston. His memories about his time with the Rockets — particularly those involving Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors — have not faded one bit, though.
In a recent podcast appearance, Paul admitted that his time playing alongside James Harden in Houston was some of the best years of his career. The 12-time All-Star also revealed just how much preparation that Rockets side went through just to get ready for the eventuality of facing the Warriors in the playoffs:
“To be real honest with you, that first year in Houston might have been Top 2, Top 3, or the best team I ever played on,” Paul said. “Seriously, we were so connected defensively, offensively. … Those years I was in Houston, we played the entire season to get ready for one team: for Golden State. We played the entire season — our defensive gameplan, our offensive gameplan — every single game was to get ready for Golden State. There’s a certain way you have to play in order to beat those teams.”
For what it’s worth, the Rockets actually came extremely close to dethroning Curry and Co. In 2018, Houston pushed the Dubs all the way to a Game 7 in the Western Conference Finals. In fact, more than a few folks believe that the Rockets would have advanced to the Finals that season had it not been for Paul’s hamstring injury in that series.
The harsh reality, however, is that all the hard work and preparation the Rockets put in ultimately amounted to nothing. No wonder the Rockets pulled the plug on the Harden-CP3 partnership after just two seasons.