Chris Paul has not attempted a midrange shot in first two preseason games
The Houston Rockets under head coach Mike D’Antoni have quickly had much success in his fast-paced offense that has a great emphasis on the 3-point shot and little importance on the mid-range game.
According to user u/Widesheep on Reddit’s NBA subreddit, this has changed offseason addition Chris Paul’s playing style as he has yet to take a single mid-range shot in the Rockets’ first two preseason games.
He’s only attempted one 2-point shot which was a fast break lay-up.
One of the reasons the Rockets lost to the Spurs in last year’s playoffs was that the predictability of their offense (only 3s and shots near the basket) allowed the Spurs to have their immobile bigs like Pau Gasol hang back at the basket in the P&R which the Rockets couldn’t take advantage of because they never shot mid-rangers.
Given that Chris Paul is one of the all-time great mid range shooters, one might’ve thought the Rockets would adjust their system a bit to give CP3 a few mid-range shots and add some more variety to their offense. From the early preseason play though, it seems like the Rockets are sticking to the same strategy of avoiding mid-rangers like the plague and CP3 will have to adjust his game to fit within the Rockets system, rather than the other way around.
Although it’s quite early, it’s clear that the Rockets are looking for Paul to be the primary ball handler when he’s on the floor that will focus on facilitating or generating his offense from his 3-point shooting or ability to get to the rim. This is a drastic change in his game as he has been one of the league’s best mid-range shooters while it has become a huge part of his game.
Paul had also spoken highly about this aspect of his game at his introductory press conference with D’Antoni voicing support keeping that part of his scoring ability in the game plan. However, there doesn’t appear to be any indication that will be the case at this point in time.
That said, the Rockets look like an even greater high-powered offense following the addition of Paul as he’s been able to open up the floor more which has helped create open looks for his new teammates from beyond the arc. This is certainly something to keep an eye on as the preseason rolls on into the regular season.