After two consecutive years with a strong bill of health, Paul succombed to the injury bug once again during the 2016-17 campaign, something that's plagued him throughout his entire 12-year career. It started with a lingering hamstring injury in December before tearing a li... read more
After two consecutive years with a strong bill of health, Paul succombed to the injury bug once again during the 2016-17 campaign, something that's plagued him throughout his entire 12-year career. It started with a lingering hamstring injury in December before tearing a ligament in his thumb in January and missing an additional month and a half. That limited Paul to just 61 games overall, his lowest mark since the 2011-12 season. However, when healhty, he was still one of the best point guards on the market, as he averaged 18.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 9.2 assists and 2.0 steals across 31.5 minutes. That placed him third overall in the league for assists, while also landing him third in the league in steals, as Paul earned NBA All-Defensive First Team honors for the sixth time in a row and seventh in his career. After spending the last six seasons in Los Angeles, Paul now heads to Houston after being traded to the Rockets at the end of June. While he'll no longer be playing alongside Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, his new roster certainly isn't lacking talent, as Paul will be playing alongside MVP finalist James Harden. Harden dominated the lead guard role last season, spending nearly the entire year as the team's ball-handler, but that should change with Paul in the fold. Harden led the league in assists with 11.2 last season, so both players are likely going to see their assist totals fall while sharing the play-making duties. That said, Harden's ability as a creator should add more open looks for Paul and after shooting a career-high 41.1 percent from deep last season, he should be able to knock down shots at a high rate as a catch-and-shoot option when off the ball. Slight drops in assists and rebounds can be expected for Paul, but he's still going to get his points considering he's joining an extremely high-paced offense. He's also expected to bring a gritty defense that the Rockets' roster severely lacks, so there shouldn't be much of a drop-off in the steals department either. All that being said, Paul should remain a top-5 point guard despite concerns over his ability to co-exist with the ball-dominant Harden.