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With Rockets out of playoffs, James Harden, Chris Paul and Houston left with more questions than ever

The Houston Rockets lost to the Warriors in heartbreaking fashion in the Western Conference Semifinals. At full strength with James Harden and Chris Paul and with the Warriors missing Kevin Durant, they came up short yet gain. The result is another offseason of questions for a Rockets team that thought it had the answers coming into this year.

Houston has a lot of money tied up in Harden and Paul, and they might need more to unseat the Warriors. Durant’s status for next season is up in the air, but if he comes back it will raise even more questions for the Rockets.

On Tuesday’s “Off the Bench,” Raja Bell and guest host Tommy Tran talk about the Rockets’ issues. They ponder if Harden wll ever have what it takes to win a championship. While he consistently puts up MVP numbers, the star seems to sometimes go missing in big games. A championship team can’t have that from its best player.

Paul, meanwhile, is getting older and the Rockets pay him a lot of money. The Rockets made trading for Paul an “all-in” move, but it hasn’t exactly paid off.

“You don’t get to say that you caught bad luck,” Bell said. “This one is squarely on (James Harden and Mike D’Antoni’s) shoulders… they just were not sharp. And Mike can’t go out there and play the game… but they didn’t look sharp in their execution of (the gameplan) either offensively or defensively, and that you do have to put on the coach.”

Tran added that Harden maybe just doesn’t have enough help.

“Does Harden have a No. 2?” he asked. “Does he have what you need to win a title right now?”

Bell added that Paul’s struggles are shining through, and he can no longer beat his own man. The Rockets have a host of issues to address, and the onus is on them to address it. They want to beat this Warriors team in the West, but lately they just haven’t seemed to have the pieces. 

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