This morning Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that the Rockets will be trading for Chris Paul. Paul was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, but opted into the last year of his deal to allow for the trade to Houston. Houston will send Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, and a 2018 first round pick to the Los Angeles Clippers to bring in the 32-year-old point guard. Paul and Harden had expressed a desire to play together, and this move allows the Clippers to get a return they otherwise wouldn’t have if he would have walked.
But There’s Only One Ball!
So how do Chris Paul and James Harden play on the same court? Defensively, Paul will be great. As good as Beverley? Maybe! Definitely not as mean though.
Offensively, Chris Paul is an upgrade over each of the three players traded for him. Paul averaged 5.0 three point attempts per game last year, and shot 41.1%, both career highs. In comparison, Lou Williams was shooting 38.5% on 5.5 three point attempts a game when he was brought over from the Lakers last year. This opens Paul up for more shots off of the Harden pick and roll.
Of course, Paul could run the pick and roll himself. Harden averaged 11.8 points per game as the ball handler in the pick and roll, and Chris Paul averaged another 7.3.
Watching both videos has got to make Clint Capela the happiest guy in the room. Expect somewhere between 2 and 200 lob attempts a game, as he’ll look to up his 60.1% shooting as the roll man in the half court offense.
The main benefit to having two All-Star point guards will be when they can stagger playing time. The ability to rest one, while the other takes control will be invaluable over the 82 game season. Keeping a true scoring threat on the court for 48 minutes a game can pave the way for insurmountable halftime leads.
What shouldn’t be ignored is how much Harden and Paul wanted to play together. Having this friendship couldn’t hurt trying to spread the ball around.
What Did We Give Up?
Losing Pat Beverley hurts. It just does. His effort alone could bring a lackadaisical Toyota Center crowd to their feet. But it’s time to move on (after we post a loving farewell).
Sam Dekker had battled injuries and was an athletic defender and rebounder, and we wish him the best. Although he lit it up off the bench a few games, his major lasting memory will probably be this one.
As for Lou Williams, I’ll always remember him for his 31 point game against the Thunder. Williams could fill in as a great replacement/upgrade if the Clippers aren’t able to hang on to JJ Redick this summer.