Houston Rockets: Mike D’Antoni says Chris Paul is ‘ready to go’

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 17: Chris Paul
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 17: Chris Paul /

The Houston Rockets finally got the news they were looking for in confirming that Chris Paul will return back to the lineup for the first time since the seasonal opener.

The Houston Rockets have solidity to the rumors that were flying in regard to Chris Paul‘s readiness over the past few weeks.  They didn’t want to verbally commit to a timetable for return because they just didn’t know exactly how his bruised knee would respond to the treatment that he was receiving.

Here’s what Mike D’Antoni had to say about the status of CP3:

"“He’s ready to go,” D’Antoni said. “I think he’s playing tomorrow. We’ll see. It’s good. Now, what we have done up to now doesn’t count. We have a new team tomorrow. When you put that big of a rock into a pond, there’s big waves. We have to figure out, one, give him a chance to get into game shape, and two, everybody’s rotation is a little bit different.”"

Paul bruised his knee back Oct. 11 in a exhibition game against the Memphis Grizzlies when he bumped into fellow guard Mario Chalmers. In his one game that he appeared in back Oct. 17th against the Golden State Warriors, Paul had four points, 11 assists and eight rebounds through 33 minutes of action.

Since then, it has been a whole bunch of waiting, boxing and swimming for CP3 as he inched closer to being able to practice with his teammates — some new, some old.  The Houston Rockets have been soaring without him, elevating themselves to an 11-4 record, teeter-tottering with the Warriors for the best record in the Western Conference.

Now that the Houston Rockets have depth at the guard position, this will certainly mean that Eric Gordon will go back to his natural position of 6th man and this will slightly decrease the minutes for Demetrius Jackson and Bobby Brown for the time being.

As far as how he’ll be introduced to the lineup, the Chron’s Jonathan Feigen gave a clear depiction of how things will look Thursday night against the Phoenix Suns on the road:

This is certainly a prudent approach to how the Houston Rockets should handle Paul.  There’s no need to immediately place a heavy workload on him as he eases back into the rotation.

I’m positive he wants all the work that he can get at the point but it’s good that voices of reason on the Houston Rockets training staff prevail.

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But I’m sure James Harden appreciates that he’ll have a dominant ball-handler to take some of the load off of him to keep him fresh as he’s making his strongest campaign ever to seize the league’s Most Valuable Player award this season.

He’s currently averaging 30.7 points, 10.3 assists and 4.9 rebounds off 44.3 percent from the field, 38.8 percent from behind-the-arc and 84.2 percent from the charity stripe.  That’s quite impressive and the man should get his due for all the grueling work that he has done out on the hardwood.

As for CP3, don’t get your expectations up too high as he just practiced for the first time of the season with the team today.  But the great ones like he know how to get the job done and although his scoring may be below par because of his minutes-restriction, expect a lot of solid ball movement with Clint Capela hopefully open for some lobs on quick cuts to the basket.

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I’m just happy to see him out there as a new era of Rockets’ basketball officially underway with Paul as the floor general.

Can’t wait — go Rockets!