The Houston Rockets Pursuit Of Chris Paul Doesn’t Make Sense

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.

The Cleveland Cavaliers Shouldn’t Acquire Chris Paul And/Or Carmelo Anthony

Over the last couple of days, some NBA media members have started to speculate that if the Cleveland Cavaliers lose the finals, they could look into acquiring Chris Paul and/or Carmelo Anthony. During an interview on “The Jim Rome Show”, ESPN’s Chris Haynes stated that the potential Carmelo to Cleveland trade “definitely could resurface, because it’s at this point, if the Cavaliers feel… a Carmelo-Kevin Love swap and just see what could happen”. Furthermore, he also stated that the Cavs could add Paul “because there’s always been talk about Chris Paul and LeBron James teaming up at some point.” Although the concept of acquiring Chris Paul and/or Carmelo Anthony may seem appealing to some media members, it is one of the worse moves the Cavs could ever make.

Throughout the past three seasons, the Cavaliers have incorporated an offensive system that is meant to showcase Lebron’s ability to pass the ball and get to the basket. As a result, he usually walks the ball up until the three-point line and evaluates how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. However, on occasion, the Cavaliers will break out some different sets within their playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have LeBron act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

As a result, the Cavs need surround LeBron with players who can catch and shoot or know how to move without the ball. Unfortunately, neither Chris Paul or Carmelo Anthony fall under this criteria; Paul has been described as the type of player who constantly dribbles the ball as he tries to analyze what the opposing team is doing and where to pass the ball. In fact, during an interview on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, his former Clipper teammate Glen “Big Baby” Davis accused him of dribbling too much; stating that Paul “has his way about himself. ‘I’m Chris Paul, give me the ball, I’m gonna dribble, dribble… I’ll shoot”. As a result, any team that was to sign Paul would need to implement an offensive system similar to the Los Angeles Clippers. For instance, Paul would bring the ball up to the three-point line and then a big man would set a screen. Once the pick was set Paul would pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, Paul would go over it and take the wide open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, Paul 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.

On the other hand, Carmelo has been described as the type of player who only wants to win games if he is seen as the centerpiece of the team. For instance, according to an ESPN the Magazine, he was angry that Jeremy Lin was getting all the attention from the fans and media for leading the team on a winning streak while he was out with a groin injury. In fact, sources close to many Knick players said: “Carmelo’s dream was to go to New York and be the man…….. and all of a sudden this little guy nobody’s ever heard of is living his dream”. As a result, for Carmelo to waive his no-trade clause, a team would need to tell him that he would be the primary offensive option. If a team were to keep this promise, they would have to implement an offensive system that is heavily dependent on isolation basketball. For instance, the team would have Carmelo post up in the mid to low block which would allow him to use his body to back up the defender thus creating the separation for the turn around jumper. Although Carmelo likes to post up, there are occasions when he will receive the ball on the perimeter and call for the screen. Once the screen is set, he will attempt to go over it and shoot the jumper. This type of system would give him an opportunity to put up big offensive numbers which would lead the media and fans to heap praise upon him because they only pay attention to the offensive side of the floor. While this system is beneficial for him, his teammates have a difficult time getting wide open shots. This is because Carmelo rarely attacks the basket which means a defender has to cover less ground to get back to his man if he decides to help on Carmelo.

In conclusion, all of these players are used to having the ball in their hands for a significant amount of time. As a result, they would need at least one season to figure out where everyone is supposed to be on the court and to develop chemistry. For instance, 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 two players are standing behind the three point line acting as spot up shooters. This is because the trio will need multiple games to develop timing as to when they should move without the ball and where to end up.  Unfortunately, Lebron can’t afford to waste a season because he is currently in the back end of his prime as he will turn 33 years old next season. Therefore, I believe that the Cavaliers will keep their core intact and make adjustments to the cast of role players.

NBA Teams Should Not Sign Chris Paul (2017 Free Agency)

Even though Chris Paul is going to be the most sought-after point guard this summer, it would be best if teams decided not to sign him. Throughout his career, Paul has been described as the type of player who constantly dribbles the ball as he tries to analyze what the opposing team is doing and where to pass the ball. In fact, during an interview on The Herd with Colin Cowherd his former Clipper teammate Glen “Big Baby” Davis accused him of dribbling too much; stating that Paul “has his way about himself. ‘I’m Chris Paul, give me the ball, I’m gonna dribble, dribble… I’ll shoot”. As a result, any team that was to sign Paul would need to implement an offensive system similar to the Los Angeles Clippers. For instance, Paul would bring the ball up to the three-point line and then a big man would set a screen. Once the pick was set Paul would pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, Paul would go over it and take the wide open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, Paul 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. While this system has given Paul a substantial amount of regular season success, there is one minor tweak that could catapult his career to the next level. The team would need to get a stretch power forward instead of the traditional power forward as it would prevent the opposing team from clogging the paint; thus giving Paul multiple options on how to attack the defense.

However, it would be unwise for a team to shape a roster around his skill set because the body of Chris Paul has started to break down over the last few seasons. For 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. If this trend were to continue for the rest of his career, his team would lose the majority of its games because there is no backup point guard who can replicate what he does. Furthermore, the select few who are capable of passing the ball like him (Lebron James, Ricky Rubio, John Wall and Rajon Rondo) are bonafide starters seem unlikely to accept backup role next season. Therefore it would be best if NBA teams avoid Chris Paul this summer.

 

 

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