After Chris Paul agreed to opt-in on contract, Clippers are trading All-Star guard to the Houston Rockets, league sources tell @TheVertical
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 28, 2017
This morning another blockbuster trade was announced via an enormous Woj bomb, possibly the biggest of its kind, I don’t know, I was just given these numbers. Chris Paul will be pairing up with fellow all-star, James Harden, under the tutelage of the coach formerly known as the Pringles Man, Mike D’Antoni. Please bring back the mustache, Mike, I’m begging you.
The fit is a bit of a wonky one, as Harden shouldered the majority of the Ball handling duties last season, leaving traditional PG Patrick Beverly to play primarily as an off ball guard, a role in which he thrived. That all changes now, as CP3 is one of, if not the most, ball dominant PG’s in the NBA today. Having 2 ultra-capable ballhandlers is never a bad thing, but Harden’s playmaking ability will be slightly mitigated by Paul’s insistence on controlling the game. Harden will have to learn to be effective off the ball at times, something he hasn’t had to think about since his days as 6th man in OKC.
The player that stands to gain the most from this trade is none other than Clint Capela, who took on an expanded role last season and excelled, averaging 12.6 pts and 8 boards per game on 64% shooting. Chris Paul is arguably the best lob tosser in the game today, as he has made the pick & roll combo of him & DeAndre Jordan nearly unstoppable for a handful of years now, and Capela will now be the lucky recipient of those pretty lobs at the rim. The Rockets have had confidence in his abilities already, and this will only unlock another level for the young center.
As for the package that Daryl Morey sent to LA for his shiny new PG; it’s nothing he’ll lose sleep over. Sure, Beverley was an integral role player for the Rockets, Dekker is a nice young player, and Lou Williams provided the occasional scoring boost from the bench, but the upgrade to an all-NBA backcourt duo was too much to pass up for Morey, a GM hungry for top level talent. Morey’s philosophy is to get the talent, and let the fit figure itself out, which is a high risk, high reward game, but you need to make the high risk plays in the NBA today with a multi-year dynasty threatening in the Golden State Warriors.
This trade doesn’t address the defensive deficiencies that the Spurs exploited in last year’s semi-finals, as Ryan Anderson and his nearly untradeable contract are still on the roster, but this makes their already all-time great offense into one with enough firepower to possibly overcome those weaknesses. All the credit in the world to Daryl Morey for going for it in a time where waiting the Warriors out is becoming the popular option for too many franchises.