Skip Bayless got brutally honest about Chris Paul ahead of Wednesday’s Game 7 showdown between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Appearing on Undisputed opposite Shannon Sharpe, Bayless admitted that he found Paul to be tough to root for.
“I find Harden and Russ easier to root for right now over CP3,” he said.
“They have actually sacrificed for each other and shown unselfishness. “
“I find Harden & Russ easier to root for right now over CP3. They have actually sacrificed for each other and shown unselfishness … I have always found CP3 a little difficult to root for, he’s fallen into feuds and fallen apart with costars.”@RealSkipBayless pic.twitter.com/FL9HnpHfUl
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) September 2, 2020
In Bayless’ opinion, Paul’s repeated beefs with various teammates make him a less likable character.
“I have always found CP3 a little difficult to root for, he’s fallen into feuds and fallen apart with costars,” he added.
While Bayless isn’t wrong about Paul having his fair share of problems with several well-known teammates, he is hardly alone in that regard.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant had their own squabbles on the Oklahoma City Thunder. James Harden disliked Paul just as much as Paul was put off by him.
All the main characters participating in this Game 7 have been imperfect teammates at times in their careers.
It is not as simple as this notion that Paul is the one who can’t get along with people.
NBA ratings noticeably declined after last week’s stoppage. https://t.co/DzvGJoEOjh
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 2, 2020
Game 7 Is For All The Bragging Rights
While Bayless’ blame assignments for the Paul-Harden divorce are a bit one-sided, it is impossible to argue that the two aren’t exactly best friends.
In fact, Paul said this much prior to the playoffs beginning.
“We don’t talk or communicate or nothing like that, but that’s all good and well,” he said at the time.
“I wish him the best in anything and everything he does. That’s one thing I think people fail to realize, sometimes, in these situations. Sometimes you have teammates, and it is for that period of time. But that’s okay.
“You can wish each other well going forward. It doesn’t mean you have to be kumbaya, and it doesn’t mean you have to be enemies. At the end of the day, everybody’s got a life to live.”
Time for the Dolphins to panic?https://t.co/eagedoAOZw
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 2, 2020
At this stage it seems like ancient history, but at one point Paul and Harden formed a tremendous duo.
Paul arrived in Houston via a trade that sent Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Lou Williams, Kyle Wiltjer, a future first rounder, and cash the other way. It was a costly deal for the Rockets, but one they believed was an investment in a championship.
Surely enough, the team came very close. At one point, the Rockets were a game away from sending the Golden State Warriors home and going to the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury suffered by Paul derailed that – and they would never get as close to a title again.
Last year, reports began to surface of friction between Paul and Harden for a variety of reasons. Both denied it, but in the offseason Paul – plus a haul of draft picks – was traded to the Thunder for Westbrook.
The expectation was that Paul would simply live out his remaining days toiling away in bottom-of-the-West jail.
Instead, he turned the Thunder into an absolute force and guided them all the way to the postseason.
Now they’ve pushed a Rockets team that many had pegged for the Western Conference Finals to a Game 7.
The storylines heading into Wednesday night’s battle are incredible. Who will ultimately emerge victorious? Time will tell.