NBA

Mike D'Antoni says integrating Chris Paul and James Harden is "not challenging at all"

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The Houston Rockets pulled off one of the biggest trades of the summer by acquiring superstar Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers.

With James Harden leading the league in assists and narrowly missing out on the MVP award after a terrific season, there were many who questioned the need for Houston to bring in another ball-dominant guard.

Both players are used to having the ball in their hands throughout games and there are still doubts about how they'll co-exist on the floor.

The early signs in pre-season have been good for the Rockets with the duo taking turns to play off the ball and allow the other to make plays.

Head coach Mike D'Antoni has stated on multiple occasions that CP3 will take some of the load off Harden who looked fatigued in their playoff loss to the San Antonio Spurs last year.

D'Antoni moved 'The Beard' to the point guard position last season with great success as he averaged a career-high 29.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 11.2 assists.

But the 66-year-old doesn't envisage any problems at all in integrating Paul with Harden and dismissed any doubts.

"To be honest with you - and I’m not trying to be cute - it’s not challenging at all," D'Antoni told James Herbert of CBS Sports.

To help build chemistry, the All-Stars spent much of the summer working out and playing pickup basketball together ahead of the new campaign.

Both players have also admitted that they want opportunities to be catch-and-shoot players and benefit from the playmaking abilities of one another.

Having played with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City, Harden has experience of playing without the ball but it'll be a totally new experience for Paul.

The veteran has been the primary ball-handler on his teams since the day he entered the league.

But after their first pre-season game together, the All-NBA guard said playing with Harden "felt natural" and enjoyed not having to come off ball screens on every possession.

CP left a lot of money on the table in Los Angeles as he felt he had a better opportunity of winning his first championship with Houston.

He endured a horrible record against the Golden State Warriors as a member of the Clippers and knows he'll have to improve that as the road to a title goes through the Bay Area.

The Rockets take on the defending champions in a hugely anticipated opening night encounter at Oracle Arena on October 18.

Topics:
Southwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
Chris Paul
L.A. Clippers
Pacific Division
Houston Rockets
James Harden

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