Why the current Houston Rockets will never win an NBA championship

James Harden and Dwight Howard are talented players but lack the leadership needed to bring a title to Houston.

The Houston Rockets are in the news again as another of their stars took a parting shot at Chandler Parsons, who signed for the Dallas Mavericks.

Less than a week after Dwight Howard said the team would not miss Parsons, James Harden also brushed off the small forward's departure.

"Dwight and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets," Harden said. "The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We've lost some pieces and added some pieces. I think we'll be fine next season."

Previously, Howard insisted that losing Parsons "won't affect [the Rockets] at all". He added: "We have myself and James. We have the best center and the best two guard in the game on the same team, it's on us."

This is not the first time that Howard has spoken in this way about his teammates. After he left the Orlando Magic he said: "My team in Orlando was a team full of people who nobody wanted. I was the leader and I led that team with a smile on my face."

Harden, also, has not been the best teammate in the world during his time in Houston, and that is without considering his atrocious effort on the defensive side of the ball.

Harden and Howard certainly have the talent to lead a team to an NBA championship with the right supporting cast, but their lack of leadership means the Houston Rockets team will never win a title with their current roster.

They are arguably the best one-two punch in the NBA, as Howard is keen to remind everyone, but they will get nowhere by distancing themselves from the rest of the team and throwing their teammates under the bus.

It is almost certainly true that the Rockets' roster is currently comprised of two stars and a number of role players, including new signing Trevor Ariza. But role players are hugely important in the NBA - just look at how vital Boris Diaw, Patty Mills and Danny Green were to the San Antonio Spurs this season - and Kawhi Leonard just showed the world that today's role players could be the stars of the near future.

Parsons certainly has the talent to be a difference maker and Harden and Howard will not play with a better player than him this season. It is telling that Rockets GM Daryl Morey said that let Parsons walk because he did not believe that the Rockets are incapable of winning a title with their current core.

That is a rather damning indictment of the Houston duo. The Rockets aggressively pursued Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh this summer, but when they whiffed on both Morey decided to abandon his title plans for this season.

Harden and Howard need to prove that they can lead a team deep into the NBA playoffs after crashing out in the first game last season. Instead of talking themselves up as the stars of the team they should focus on showing some leadership and creating a championship-winning atmosphere in Houston.