Kent Tukeli | Fri 14/07/2017 - 16:06 EDT

Houston Rockets And Chris Paul Will Challenge The Warriors

Houston Rockets And Chris Paul Will Challenge The Warriors

Houston Rockets NBA Championship Future Odds

Standing still was never part of the plan for Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. His Clippers coup prevents west rivals from outpacing the Rockets in a merciless race to stockpile elite basketball talent. Pairing Chris Paul and James Harden places Houston in top tier of the association, giving the Rockets a legitimate chance to win an NBA championship in 2018.

2018 NBA Championship - Odds to Win

NBA 2018 Outright Odds - Bodog

Point God Meets The Beard

Two ball-dominant guards would normally present a legitimate concern for most NBA starting squads, but the genius of Chris Paul, James Harden, and coach Mike D’Antoni will overcome this obstacle. When both playmakers occupy the court, Houston will run plays which will drive opposing defenders insane. Harden and Paul will have the option of running multiple pick-and-rolls, grinding defenders through several screens while teammates sprint to open space around the court, forcing defences to perpetually scramble.

Paul and Harden have no problem catching and shooting around the arc while the other runs sets. Both shooters will hit threes at an extremely efficient rate given a half-step of space, punishing teams which leave Paul or Harden to help defend dribble drives from Point God or the Beard.

Known mostly for his capacity as a floor general, Chris Paul plays superb defence for a point guard, tenaciously hounding enemy guards with solid fundamentals and veteran tricks that border on straight-up fouls. Harden will never threaten as defensive player of the year, but the addition of another elite playmaker will preserve his energy to perform as a non-negative defender.

Houston Rockets Front Office Magic

GM Daryl Morey has been on the forefront of technological innovation, wholeheartedly implementing advanced analytics before most basketball thought leaders. He went all-in on the three-pointer over the past half-decade, similar to the Warriors, Cavaliers, Spurs, and Heat, who have dominated the NBA finals since 2012. This lead to the Rockets setting offensive records last year, chucking and hitting the most three-pointers in NBA history.

Surrounding the Beard with a minimum of three shooters at all times was almost enough to beat the San Antonio Spurs, who sapped the will of an exhausted Harden. Adding Paul addresses this problem, and Morey didn’t need to drain his roster to arrange the blockbuster trade.

Losing Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley reduces depth, but the Rockets will still be stacked with long range bombers, even if Morey doesn’t land additional help – which he’s already done. P.J. Tucker, a three-and-d veteran, was signed away from the Raptors, providing a workable fill-in for Beverley. Carmelo Anthony, Marreese Speights and Mike Dunleavy could join the Rockets, adding the depth needed to make a deep playoff run in the west.

Rockets Well-Positioned For Carmelo Anthony

Even if Houston doesn’t snag additional depth, trading for Chris Paul positions the Rockets for a final stroke of offseason genius: the potential addition of Carmelo Anthony to the lineup. Melo has been rumoured to join LeBron for a run against the Warriors, but the New York Knicks will almost certainly receive a better haul for trading with the Rockets.

Winning the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes would ruin Cleveland’s offseason, which has already been a disaster. Compared to the sure-handed steering of the Rockets ship, the Cavaliers have been rudderless because owner Dan Gilbert cheaped out on management, failing to retain David Griffin and lowballing Chauncey Billups.

Chris Paul, James Harden and Carmelo would form a true big three, a prerequisite for modern NBA championship teams like the Warriors, Cavaliers, Spurs, and Heat. Regardless of where Melo lands, the Rockets have already won the most exciting offseason since LeBron returned to Cleveland. Consider the Rockets to be a high-value option while placing bets on NBA futures.

Category : NFL

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