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Will the Rockets challenge the Spurs/Warriors, with the addition of Chris Paul?

James Harden

After finishing third last season in the Western Conference and exceeding expectations, the Houston Rockets got eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs. This year with the addition of Chris Paul the Houston Rockets want to set even higher goals, finish above the Spurs in the regular season and even challenge the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. The trade that occurred on the 28th of June gives them the opportunity to run one of the most lethal offenses in the league, as Chris Paul will manipulate the offense in ways they can improve. 

Chris Paul is someone who could facilitate the offense, create space for James Harden, score the basketball, and succeed in pick & roll situations. However, many questions have been raised regarding the chemistry in the Houston locker room, how will Chris Paul and James Harden interact on and off the court, and how can they lead the Rockets past the Spurs in order to challenge the Warriors. Even though Chris Paul is an excellent overall player, him and Harden alone cannot challenge the Spurs and the Warriors on the Western Conference. The other guys, role players will need to step up. Harden and Paul will need to lead this team on the defensive side of the court also, as it is one of the team’s biggest weakness. They will need to hustle back, show their passion, their force to win every game, in order for the team to have a different mindset, a different, winning mentality.

Moreover, the Houston Rockets according to Brian Windhorst and Stephen. A. Smith of ESPN, are trying very hard to trade for Carmelo Anthony. ‘Melo’ himself has also stated that if he gets traded this season, the only team that he would get traded to would be the Houston Rockets. If this trade actually happens, the Rockets would be a legit threat to the Warriors. They would be deadly offensively, perhaps will have the best offense in the league, and would be able to see eye to eye the Spurs and the Warriors.

On the other hand, Chris Paul; is very demanding as a player, as a leader, and this could interfere with James Harden. The problem with these two is who is going to hold the ball and facilitate the offense. Chris Paul and James Harden have matured over the years and right now, know what to expect from the other ‘super teams’. So both, have to be extremely patient with one-another and do what’s best for their team. Carmelo Anthony, who could possibly be traded to Houston, is the pickup the Rockets need to trade for right now. Carmelo wants to win an NBA championship (something that is missing from his résumé) and he wants to do it now! At 33 years of age, he is matured as a player and a person, knows what he wants for the rest of his career, and can still score the basketball in many different ways, as he can create for himself, power his way inside the paint, finish at the rim, knock down mid-range fadeaways, as well as deep three-pointers.

Finally, the Rockets will be better with the addition of Chris Paul, but will not be better than the Spurs or the Warriors. They still need another star that will get them over the top. If ‘Melo’ gets traded to Houston, they would have a legit shot at challenging the defending champs.