ESPN has ranked Chris Paul as the best addition of the offseason.
ESPN has already forecasted their candidates for next year’s MVP, Rookie of the Year and first-time All-Star selections.
Most recently, a panel of 44 experts ranked their top three newcomers for the upcoming season. A third place vote counts for one point, a second place vote counts for three and a first place vote awards five points.
Chris Paul received the most first place votes with 15, tallying 109 points in all.
Micah Adams of ESPN provided some commentary on why Chris Paul was the biggest acquisition of the offseason.
“Lost in the debate about how Chris Paul and James Harden will share the ball is the fact that they both are deadly off-the-ball options. Paul will get more open looks from outside in Houston than he ever saw in Los Angeles, and he’ll likely make opposing teams pay. Last season, he shot 57 percent on unguarded catch-and-shoots, which was better than Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and JJ Redick, to name a few.”
James Harden will receive more catch-and-shoot looks, too.
Yes, Paul will see more catch-and-shoot opportunities, and so will James Harden. Throughout Paul’s career, he has been arguable the best facilitator in the NBA. In a league where shoot-first point guards have all but taken over, Paul’s pass-first style of play is something of a throwback.
Last season, James Harden took nearly three times more pull-up 3-pointers than catch-and-shoots. Harden converted on 38.9 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes as opposed to only 33.2 percent on pull-ups.
Harden assumed most of the ball-handling duties in his new point guard role, with an off-the-charts 34.1 percent usage rate. With two elite ball-handlers in Houston, Harden can spend more time playing off the ball, which should boost his efficiency.
As iron sharpens iron, so will Paul sharpen Harden, and vice-versa.