Houston Rockets: How James Harden, Paul stack up with elite back courts


We have seen how well Chris Paul has integrated into a lineup featuring James Harden. The two All-Star point guards have the Houston Rockets sitting pretty at the top of the Western Conference, but how does this back court compare to other elite ones in the NBA?

Houston Rockets fans — let’s compare this stellar pairing with other back courts currently in playoff contention.

Scoring the ball

The team with most points wins, simple. Here are the best scoring back court duo from playoff bound teams.

  1. James Harden and Chris Paul (Houston) – 50.5 PPG
  2. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum (Portland) – 47.9 PPG
  3. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (Golden State) – 46.7 PPG
  4. John Wall and Bradley Beal (Washington) – 43.1 PPG
  5. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry (Toronto) – 40.4 PPG

Yes, you guessed it. Harden and Paul are not only leading the way in terms of challenging the Warriors, they are also leading the league in scoring. Want to trap Harden? Go right ahead, in Paul, you’ll likely find yourself with a 46.7 percent field goal and 38.5 percent three-point shooter with the ball in his hands. Add to that his amazing handling and you better wish the ball goes to Clint Capela or one of the multiple shooters the Houston Rockets have at their disposal. Either way, its a lose-lose situation.

Sharing the rock

Why be selfish? Here are the top team’s best pairings in terms of assists.

  1. James Harden and Chris Paul – 17.1 APG
  2. John Wall and Bradley Beal13.7 APG
  3. Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry11.6 APG
  4. Russell Westbrook and Andre Roberson (Oklahoma) – 11.6 APG
  5. LeBron James and Jordan Clarkson (Cleveland) – 11.0 APG

How should a player take advantage of great three point shooters on the team? Maybe pass them the ball. Harden and Paul are not only getting theirs, they’re slicing up defenses left-and-right. Whatever way they want, lob it to Capella? Sure. Find an open Ryan Anderson? Yes please. Whatever game plan opposing defenses throw, you can bet on Harden and Paul finding a way to dissect it.

Defensively speaking…

Creating a turnover means a chance at a fast break. Fast breaks usually lead to better percentage shots. Here are the back court pairs with the most steals.

  1. James Harden and Chris Paul – 3.62 SPG
  2. Victor Oladipo and Darren Collison (Indiana) – 3.55 SPG
  3. Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague ( Minnesota) – 3.42 SPG
  4. Russell Westbrook and Andre Roberson – 3.08 SPG
  5. Eric Bledsoe and Tony Snell (Milwaukee) – 2.75 SPG

Another stat category, another first place finish for the Houston duo. The defense has improved this season. And a part of that is Paul’s defensive focus. Even Harden has started to put some kind of effort on the defensive end. Harden has the same amount of steals per game as Paul with about 1.8 every night. With an already unstoppable offense, a lock down defense would make this

team extremely frightening.

Turning the ball over

Taking care of the ball, so important yet sometimes so difficult. Here are the least turnover prone

More from House of Houston

backcourts from the top eight seeds in each conference.

  1. Dejounte Murray and Danny Green (San Antonio) – 2.8 TPG
  2. Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson (Miami) – 3.4 TPG
  3. Eric Bledsoe and Tony Snell3.5 TPG
  4. Jrue Holiday and E’Twaun Moore (New Orleans) – 3.8 TPG
  5. Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown ( Boston) – 3.9 TPG

This one hurts. Out of the 16 teams currently in playoff positions, the Houston Rockets’ duo is last in terms of turnovers with an average of 6.6 per game. That is definitely not ideal. Every turnover is a lost opportunity to score, and against elite teams, those mistakes will be made to pay for.

Next: Why Trevor Ariza should head to the bench

The Rockets have enough firepower to blow past most teams, but that shouldn’t cause carelessness with the ball. The goal for this team is the championship, and that will likely mean facing the defending champs and the Warriors will surely be ready to pounce on any mistakes made.