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Houston Rockets: 3 things we learned from the Chris Paul era

By Tevin Williams
Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets drives to the basket defended by
Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets drives to the basket defended by /

2. Don’t trade away a lot of assets for a star who’s at the end of his prime

Back on June 27, the Rockets traded away a large haul including Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, a handful of filler contracts and a 2018 first round pick to the Clippers for Chris Paul.

That was a huge trade, but it was certainly worth it, for a season at least. The addition of Paul took the Rockets from a good regular season team with no real hope of winning it all to a 65-win team with a legitimate shot at a championship. As previously stated, if Paul’s hamstring would’ve held together, that Rockets squad looked like the best team in the league in 2018.

Unfortunately, Paul battled injuries once again in the 2018-19 season, which has been the storyline of his career. But he also took a step-back production wise. Paul averaged just 15.6 points per game and shot 41.9 percent from the field last season, both career lows. His first step just wasn’t as explosive as we’ve been accustomed to seeing and he struggled to beat his opponents off the dribble and score in isolation as easily as he did in the past. After Houston signed Paul to an enormous 4-year, $160 million contract last summer, it quickly became clear that the Rockets got the short end of the stick.

CP3 is still a good point guard, but he is out of his prime and is entering the twilight of his career. The Rockets couldn’t beat the Warriors in Game 5 or in Game 6 in this past postseason after Kevin Durant injured his calf, which signaled the end of Houston’s championship window with the Chris Paul and James Harden back court.

Due to their small size, point guards typically rely on their speed and quickness more than any other position. Once they start to lose their athleticism, they typically hit the wall sooner than their larger colleagues, and Paul’s decline last year was accelerated due to his injury history.

Gutting your depth for a star that’s a bit past his peak can definitely pay off, but its risky business. Fortunately, Daryl Morey was able to move Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, which leads us to our next point.

Next: No. 1

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