Over the past week, there have been several reports stating that the Houston Rockets are expected to pursue Chris Paul in free agency. According to ESPN, a source close to the team expects the Rockets “to go hard after Paul.” Although the potential of Paul joining the team seems like a move that would help them; reach the conference finals to compete with the Warriors, that is not the case.
Throughout last season, the Houston Rockets incorporated an offensive system centered around the pick and roll. For instance, James Harden would bring the ball up to the three-point line and then a big man would set a screen. Once the pick was set Harden would pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, Harden would go over it and take the wide-open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, Harden would go over it as well and drive towards the basket where he would score or pass the ball to the player next to him or to the perimeter depending on whether he was double teamed or not.
Due to this, if the Houston Rockets were to sign Chris Paul they would have a major issue on their hands. This is because Paul has an identical playing style to the one James Harden showcased last season. As a result, there would be many possessions in the early portions of the first season, where one player will bring the ball up the floor and hold it for the majority of the shot clock. Meanwhile, the other player would be standing behind the three point line acting as a spot up shooter. This is because the duo will need multiple games to learn how to play with each other. For instance, the pair will need to decide if they are going to split ball-handling duties and how much time each player has the ball; or if one player will be exclusively off the ball. Furthermore, the player who is off the ball needs to figure out when they should move without the ball and where to end up.
Unfortunately, the learning process may take a long time because the body of Chris Paul has started to break down over the last few seasons. In five of the past six seasons with the Clippers, Paul has missed eight or more regular season games due to various injuries; which include a torn ligament in his left thumb, AC joint separation and a left hamstring injury. As a result, they won’t be able to develop a rhythm playing with each other thus there is a strong possibility that Chris leaves Houston after one season.