The CP3 Trade Isn’t a Game-Changer… Yet

The Chris Paul trade earlier this afternoon sent shockwaves across the NBA. Just two years after trapping DeAndre Jordan in a house to keep him in LA, Chris Paul was jumping ship?

As details continued to leak about Paul’s feud with head coach Doc Rivers, the move became more and more justifiable, but the question still remained: could the new-look Rockets take down the Warriors? Short answer, no.

The deal leaves Houston’s starting lineup looking like this:

PG: Chris Paul

SG: James Harden

SF: Trevor Ariza

PF: Ryan Anderson

C: Clint Capela

As it is, the Warriors still have a better front court and backcourt. Paul and Harden may hold their own against Steph and Klay offensively, but Golden State has the better two-way back court. But having Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson matched up against Kevin Durant and Draymond Green is a disaster waiting to happen. If a 7-game series were to take place today, I’d hedge my bets on Warriors in 5, maybe 6.

Kevin Durant and Draymond Green celebrate their 2017 title postgame

And that’s assuming that CP3 and Harden are able to co-exist, which they may or may not be able to do. Very rarely is the effectiveness of a backcourt of such high-volume ball handlers just a sum of its parts.

That being said, Houston should be able to claim the 3rd seed rather comfortably, and be in the running for the 2-seed, which will be a two horse race between them and the Spurs. Yet there’s still that gap between them and the Warriors.

A gap which the front office is clearly trying to close.

Both moves make sense. The most logical way for a Melo acquisition to work is if he comes off the bench, which makes sense because Houston traded away many of its bench pieces in the CP3 deal. With a front court of CP3 and Harden, the starting small-forward has to be a defensive specialist who can shoot the rock. While Melo can certainly do the latter, he still struggles with the former. He can be a high-volume, high-minute scorer off the bench.

The PG move makes even more sense, if the front office can pull it off. George can certainly defend, and shoots the ball at a reasonable rate, while still able to create his own shot. If they’re able to acquire him, that puts them right up there with Golden State, and will make for a legendary Western Conference Finals.

So the move for Chris Paul certainly makes the Rockets a more interesting watch, if they can’t add another piece, it won’t mean much in the title race.

Chris Paul and James Harden combine to form the league’s most potent offensive backcourt. But they’ll still need more to take down the Warriors

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