On paper, Houston adding Chris Paul to pair with James Harden is a plus for their championship chances. But this is the same paper that also told us that Harden and Dwight Howard would work too, so…
While Harden lead the NBA is assist last year, he did also fall finish in the top five in usage rate. Harden thrives with the ball in his hands. He is one of the best scorers in the league and took Houston all the way to the second round of the playoffs just a year ago. With the ball in Hardens’ hands, the Rockets always has a chance to win. The only problem is as much as Harden needs the ball, Paul needs also.
Never in his career has Paul played off-ball. While he is a reliable three point shooter, Paul has ONLY been at his best with ball, controlling the offense. This will be the biggest test for the Rockets, can these two exist while playing at their best. Players like Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, and Ryan Anderson flourish as catch-and-shoot players, but it’s hard to imagine Harden and Paul being the same way.
If this does work however, Houston will have undoubtably the best back court in the NBA. Teams will have fits trying to game plan for stopping a duo that the league has never seen. Players like Stephen Curry and Damion Lillard, who rarely guard the opposing teams best guard, will have nowhere to hid against this duo. On any given night, Harden can drop 50 while Paul gives you 20 pints and 20 assists.
Defense will still be a question for this team, seeing as both Harden and Anderson give little effort on that end, but Pau, Clint Capela, and newly acquired P.J Tucker should help steady the boat.
And just imagine the offensive possibilities if the Rockets would have had enough to get Carmelo Anthony.
With players like the reigning sixth man of the year in Gordon, the sharpshooting Anderson, Houston will continues to throw up three and three. But it will take some time for this backcourt to click. And if they do click, the rest of the league will have a problem on their hands.