Why were things awkward in Houston Monday night?

Chris Paul was in Houston on Monday night to play his former team the Houston Rockets. Paul now plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder which is Russell Westbrook's old team. Things were real interesting to see how James Harden and Paul intervened with each other on the court.

This past summer, Paul was traded to OKC for the rights to Westbrook. Daryl Morey told reporters that they wanted to keep Paul in Houston. People were suspecting that Paul and Harden were not getting along. Last season, the Rockets lost to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. A source was told that Harden and Paul had a verbal altercation in the locker room. Players on the team denied that there was any tension between the two. Everybody also heard that Harden went to the front office and told them to choose between the two. Harden later on denied that he even went to the front office.

When the Thunder made Westbrook available, the Rockets wanted to figure out every way to get him here. Paul's contract was too huge to move at first but Morey found a way. Harden approved the trade because he wanted to play with his best friend again. Sadly, Paul's time in Houston was cut short after signing a four year extension. The question is should Paul feel betrayed by the trade? No, the fact is that Westbrook is better and younger than Paul. At the end of the day, the NBA is a business, so Paul understands. Even though the Thunder lost, Paul also told reporters after the game that Westbrook gives them an edge. He has watched all of the Rockets game this season.

The Rockets did honor Paul with a tribute video in Monday night's game. Is it because Houston feels bad for trading him? Probably not, but still wanted to show respect to Paul. He had a great first season with the Rockets minus the injuries. Paul was a reason why Houston made it seven games against the Warriors. It will always be a "what if" Paul played in game seven against the Warriors. That will always be a huge question in Houston. Harden and Paul both say that they still have love for each other. This Monday night said otherwise as we saw Harden do petty things to Paul. Neither did one of them speak to each other after the game. Paul spoke to everyone on the team after the game besides Harden. Paul mentioned to reporters that he still keeps in touch with PJ Tucker, Westbrook, and Gary Clark.

Hopefully Harden and Paul can one day tell the real story between them.

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Keep an eye on Tank Dell this Sunday. Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images.

I remember thinking how in the world can these little frail guys survive at the NFL level? I mean, I saw Joe Theismann and Ed McCaffrey's legs snap. Drew Bledsoe got his chest caved in. Seeing 300-plus pound men cry when injured is humbling. So when a guy like Tank Dell comes along, I'm always a bit apprehensive. Especially when they come with a ton of hype.

For every eight to ten big strong players that get hurt, there's one or two little fellas that have relatively healthy careers. The comp that came to mind when looking at Tank was DeSean Jackson. Listed at 5'10 and weighing a heavy 175 pounds, Jackson was arguably the best “small guy” in NFL history. Dell being about two inches shorter and about ten pounds lighter, while also playing a similar role, is in line to be a similarly electrifying type of player. I put my assessment on the line and doubled down with my predictions on what his, and others' season totals will look like last week:

Tank Dell: 68 catches, 1,105 yards and 6 touchdowns- Dell will be a really good slot, but has some outside skills. Namely, his speed. He's more slippery than if Mick had greased that chicken before Rocky tried catching it. I could see his production going up as the season gets longer because Stroud will begin to look for him more and more as they build chemistry. Yes, I know I only have him with six scores. Keep in mind this is a run first offense. At least that's what we can deduce from looking at where it came from in San Francisco.

In his debut game last week vs the Ravens, he notched three catches for 34 yards on four targets. He was tied for third on the team in targets with Noah Brown and Mike Boone. While Robert Woods and Nico Collins were one and two in targets last week, I think Dell will ascend that list starting this week. Word came down that Noah Brown is headed to IR, meaning he'll miss at least the next four weeks. The chemistry he and fellow rookie C.J. Stroud have developed is palpable. From working out together, to attending UH games together, these two seem to have a nice bond already.

Woods is a solid vet two years removed from an ACL injury. Collins was a third rounder with size who hasn't done a whole lot. Dell is easily the most exciting option at receiver this team has. John Metchie III was expected to be the next guy up. Unfortunately, cancer had him take a backseat, until now. Metchie is back at practice this week, so a debut is imminent. He could potentially challenge for more playing time, but it may take him some time to get used to things and get going again.

As far as my statistical prediction for his season, he only needs to average four catches for 67 yards per game, and get a touchdown every two to three games for the remainder of the season. Given Brown being out the next few games, Metchie not quite being up to speed, Woods being an older player on a short-term deal, and Collins not really being what everyone thought he could be, it leaves things wide open for Dell to step up.

Playmakers come in all shapes and sizes. Levon Kirkland was a 300-pound middle linebacker in a 3-4. Doug Flutie led teams to playoff wins as a 5'9 quarterback. In football, size matters. The bigger, stronger guys normally win out. When it comes to receiving and returns, you want speed, quickness, and agility. Dell has that in spades. Add his competitive nature and chemistry with his quarterback and you have a recipe for a star in the making. I know I'm not the only one hoping the Texans continue Tank-ing.

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