Trevor Ariza Explains Key to Chris Paul's Success with Rockets

Former Houston Rockets starting forward Trevor Ariza explained the key to Chris Paul's success with the Rockets.
Mar 30, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; (from left to right) Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1), Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) and Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) sit on the bench during the third quarter against the Phoenix Suns at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 30, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; (from left to right) Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1), Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) and Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) sit on the bench during the third quarter against the Phoenix Suns at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports / Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 trade that saw future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul change coasts from California to Houston sparked immediate skepticism. Which wasn't unfounded, as Paul and James Harden were two of the most ball dominant players in the league at the time.

Those types of players don't typically mesh well on the court. 

But the Rockets didn't have a choice. They were trying to finally dethrone the Golden State Warriors, their arch nemesis who defeated them in the 2015 and 2016 playoffs. 

The Rockets cruised to the top record in the Western Conference and came eerily close to reaching the NBA Finals and potentially winning the championship in the first year of the pairing, but fell to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. The Rockets won 65 games, a franchise record, quelling the concerns and silencing the skeptics.

The following year saw the Rockets win 53 games and finish with the fourth seed in the West, falling to the Dubs in the second round yet again. So how exactly did Paul thrive in an entirely different system than what he was used to?

How did Paul excel alongside Harden, an entirely different player than he'd ever played with? The answer was simple: his IQ and commitment. 

Former Rockets forward Trevor Ariza took to the Run Your Race podcast to explain.

"He was huge in like watching film after the game. 

So just getting with him and trying to get on that level with that...was something I picked up from CP. Because that broke the game down in a completely different way.

After the game, we're on the plane...we all have our headphones on, doing our own thing.

He's on here like 'Hey, yo Trev. Come here. Look. This is what it looks like in my mind when you come off this curl.

Or when that guy is slicing through the lane. I'm gonna need you to check him right there, just for a second until I get back. 

Things like that, that you wouldn't even think would be big things are huge things.

That's one thing that CP did, one thing that he taught me in the game."

Ariza continued.

"He kinda knew the game three plays before the game was going on. That's the hardest thing to do. To be able to set up plays three plays prior to.

He was really good at doing sh-t like that."

Paul is universally regarded as one of the greatest floor generals in league history and has been able to play at a high level for 19 years.

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Anthony Duckett

ANTHONY DUCKETT