Even though news that Chris Paul could be out for a month is not good for the Houston Rockets, it’s still not the end of the world for them.
Last season, James Harden proved he can be a stellar point guard for the franchise. If he slides back into that role, PJ Tucker could easily step in and join him as the starting shooting guard for the Rockets.
NBA analyst Mike Pina wrote about the value Tucker brings to Houston (via Vice Sports):
“In Houston, he’s good enough to start and close games as a primary wing stopper, and that domino effect makes life easier for Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon, Harden, Paul, and everybody else. ‘[Houston] finished 10th in the NBA all-time last year on offense, so scoring is not a problem,’ he says.”
The rest of the starting lineup would look the same with Trevor Ariza at small forward as well as Ryan Anderson and Clint Capela in the frontcourt.
Eric Gordon, who won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award last year, will still provide a scoring option off the bench for the Rockets. Luc Mbah A Moute can add valuable minutes as a backup wing behind Ariza if Tucker plays down a position.
It’s not ideal to see Paul injured, but even without his services, it’d be best to not overwork him during the regular season. Houston should still be in a place to compete for a top spot in the Western Conference even without Paul, and he will bring the necessary spark once he returns healthy.