The Lede: Chris Paul to the Rockets

By Keith Allison (flickr) []

Don’t have time to read through 1,000 words, but need some informed betting tips? Here’s a quick rundown on today’s biggest sports story (as adjudged by me) and how it impacts the way you should bet.

LA Clippers Trade Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets

Remember everything I said yesterday about James Harden being the best bet for 2017-18 NBA MVP? Forget it. The Houston Rockets have now acquired Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, and a protected 2018 first-round pick. Pairing with another superstar, Harden is likely to follow in the footsteps of Steph Curry and sacrifice his own individual stats for the opportunity to win. (Rejoice, Russell Westbrook bettors.)

After Harden had so much success as the primary ball-handler in Mike D’Antoni’s offense last season, Houston’s pursuit of Paul seems a little odd. But the former Clipper’s ability to play off the ball should not be underestimated. Over the last three seasons, Paul has shot 39.3-percent from behind the arc, and hits at a 37-percent clip for his career. While it’s safe to assume Paul will assume some of the PG responsibilities in D’Antoni’s offense, there’s no doubt Harden will maintain a share, too.

With the addition of Paul, the Rockets not only close the gap on the Golden State Warriors, but also become an attractive destination for Paul George. If Daryl Morey can find a way to acquire George, the Rockets certainly surpass the San Antonio Spurs in the West, becoming the second-best team in the Association (on paper). Without George, Gregg Popovich is still the apogee in a Spurs/Rockets matchup.

(Your move, Pops.)