Houston Rockets star point guard Chris Paul has returned from injury and made his team one of the most feared in the entire league.
He ranks No. 5 overall in ESPN’s Player Efficiency Rating and has helped the Rockets win their last seven consecutive games. They have scored 7.5 more points per 100 possessions when he is on the court, which has contributed to the hot streak.
No longer the sole primary ballhandler when he appears with James Harden, Paul has taken a new approach to the game. He can be an assist machine even without a high usage rate.
Paul leads the league in assists since he returned on November 16 after his injury. His assist percentage is the second-best in the league among those who have appeared in as many games as he has during the 2016-17 season, trailing only Harden.
John Stockton (1987-88) is the only other player who appeared on the court for more than 100 minutes during a season to have an assist rate of at least 54 percent as well as a usage rate below 18 percent, via Basketball-Reference.
His assist-to-turnover ratio is also unparalleled. RealGM has a statistic for point guards called Pure Point Rating, which takes both assists and turnovers into account. We used their formula to determine that through eight games, his PPR (20.4) would be his best ever, nearly double his career average.
With an impressive offense surrounding him, the Rockets have a 61.5 effective field goal percentage when he is on the court. But it’s just 54.5 percent when he is off the court.
His teammates also have an incredible 71.1 effective field goal percentage off his passes and Houston is shooting 6.8 percent better on overall three-point attempts when Paul is on the court.
Ryan Anderson is the player who has benefited the most. The forward averages 23.5 points per 36 minutes when playing with Paul, but just 12.7 points per 36 minutes without him. He is also shooting 77.3 percent on three-pointers after passes from Paul.
When Paul is on the court with Luc Mbah a Moute, Houston has outscored opponents by 36.4 points per 100 possessions. Mbah a Moute has connected on seven of the nine shots he has attempted after passes from Paul.
His team is similarly dominant when he plays with Eric Gordon (23.0) as well as Anderson (19.0) and PJ Tucker (14.4).
They have outscored opponents by a total 16.4 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.