Despite adding two point guards to the roster over the offseason, the Rockets will continue to stagger James Harden and Chris Paul‘s minutes.
After adding Chris Paul in the summer of 2017, the coaching staff raved about the fact that the Rockets would be able to have a Hall of Fame level point guard running the show for the entire game.
Last season, Houston didn’t really have a legitimate back-up point guard, so staggering Harden and Paul’s minutes worked wonders for the team. Even with four bench players on the floor, Houston’s offense didn’t skip a beat with Chris Paul picking apart defenders in the pick-and-roll.
Although, when either Paul or Harden were injured, the Rockets didn’t have a back up point guard in place that could run the show. Houston had Bobby Brown and Briante Weber, but they are both best suited for playing off the ball in Houston’s offense. Eric Gordon took over the point guard duties when both Harden or Paul were unavailable, but his skillset doesn’t allow him to create shots for others at a high level.
Over the offseason, Daryl Morey filled in the gap by adding Brandon Knight and Michael Carter-Williams. Both Knight and Carter-Williams have been starters over most of their careers and they should fit in well as back up point guards for Houston.
Adding depth to the point guard position should take a bit of pressure off of Houston’s dynamic duo, but Mike D’Antoni still plans to have either Harden or Paul on the floor at all times, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen.
“We keep either James or Chris on the floor all the time. We’ll still stagger James and Chris so MCW will be off the ball more than he does in scrimmages. That’s just the way our team is made up. But if we needed him if someone got injured or was out of the game, he would be the backup point. He can play off the ball, too. He’s in a good spot. James and Chris like to play together (in practices) because they’re still learning what they can do.”
Keeping either Paul or Harden on the floor for the entire game is still the best approach for Houston. According to a report, the Rockets don’t want to overextend Chris Paul so that he is as fresh as possible for the postseason.
Last season, Paul averaged just 31.8 minutes per game, so his workload isn’t too heavy. When the Rockets elect to strategically rest Paul throughout the season, Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Knight will be able to help James Harden run the offense. It’s nice to see that Houston has more options at guard for this upcoming season.