How The Chris Paul Trade Makes Complete Sense
Now that CP3 is officially Houston bound, the arms race in the West just got much more interesting
After the rumors broke not long ago that the Rockets were pursuing Chris Paul, everyone tried to wrap their head around just how well he and James Harden would pair together. Once a majority of NBA fans agreed it would be an odd fit, Woj decided to drop this bad boy and turn everyone’s day upside down.
In return, the Clippers received a hodgepodge of mediocre assets as they begin their rapid decrease down the Western Conference power rankings.
Now that the dust has barely settled for a mere few minutes, it’s time to figure out why this deal makes so much sense for Houston.
You can quickly look at this and wonder why the Rockets would trade for a point guard right after they moved Harden to that same position, where he had the most successful season of his career. The NBA has yet to develop a rule stating you can play with more than one ball at once, so having two ball-dominant players at the guard spot does seem like an issue waiting to happen. Considering how the ego of both Paul and Harden has been a problem in the past, it’s easy to assume this could be a nightmare, but this isn’t the Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey making this move. It was Harden and Paul who badly wanted to play together.
If those egos are out of the way, there’s definitely a way to make this work. It’s not like taking the ball out of Harden’s hands is going to make him any worse of a player. While his spot up shooting percentage was clearly down last season considering he was the one orchestrating the show, it was still in the 90th percentile in the league. Allowing him to not only spot up, but to create off-ball gives the Rockets an incredible amount of options on offense. Even with Paul running the offense, kicking back to Harden just gives Houston a second playmaker who can score at will and even orchestrate as the play breaks down.
Even in situations where Harden is the one running the offense whether it’s at the start of the play or as another option when the set develops, Paul is still an insanely efficient scorer.
He’s known for constantly passing, but with Harden on the court the team can afford to allow Paul to take a backseat with play calling duties. We’ve never seen it before, but since when is having two of the top five playmakers in the league on one team a bad thing?
People are also seeing this as the Rockets’ master plan to take down the Warriors. Those people completely forgot the entire narrative of the offseason: build a super team, or die trying. This is a “die trying” move for Houston, but why is it considered their last? The Rockets openly said just days ago that they were targeting multiple big names, not just one.
They already have Paul, and won’t target Lowry now. What’s stopping them from signing Millsap, one of the most underrated players in the league, or just relocating Lob City to Houston and bringing in Blake? They also kept Ryan Anderson in the deal, a player who many teams are interested in, and a player this team was willing to shop in a deal. He’s still currently on the roster, but his role as trade bait hasn’t changed.
Even if they don’t add a talent this year, there’s still time to grab someone next season.
With the Rockets’ roster prior to the trade, they were not ever going to compete in the Western Conference. This move gives them a chance to add another piece to possibly take down the Warriors, without really jeopardizing their future.
There was never a team in place to take down Golden State, or really even compete with them for that matter. Now with this move, the Rockets at least have the building blocks in place to make it interesting.