Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni’s joke on why he wants Chris Paul to keep missing
Normally, a player’s coach would want him to make a high percentage of his shots. But as Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni recently joked, it hasn’t been so bad that point guard Chris Paul is in a slump.
As bad as Paul’s shooting has been, the Rockets just keep winning.
Asked D’Antoni about Chris Paul’s recent shooting slump (30% or below in four straight games).
Mike: “We’ve won those four games in a row, so I hope he keeps missing. Maybe that’s the key, who knows.” [laughs]
“I don’t know. That’s just the normal cycle with players.” #Rockets
— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) December 19, 2018
It’s true that Chris Paul’s shooting has been abysmal lately. In his last four games, he’s shooting 11-for-42 from the field (26.2 percent) and 6-for-19 from three-point range. But at the same time, Paul has averaged 35.9 minutes per game with 9.5 assists and 3.0 steals. So it’s not as if he hasn’t been a major contributor to the team’s success.
It can’t be ignored, however, that the 33-year-old is having the worst season of his career by several measures. His points per game average of 15.8 would represent a career-low, as would his 40.8 percent shooting. Even Paul’s free throw percentage (80.4) is currently the worst of his career.
Meanwhile, the Rockets appear to finally be getting some traction on the court. Their four-game winning streak has bumped their overall record to 15-14, which is currently good for ninth place in the Western Conference. That doesn’t come anywhere near the lofty expectations that most had for Houston coming into the season after they went 65-17 last year and pushed the Golden State Warriors to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.
One constant for the Rockets has been James Harden, who is having another exceptional season statistically. The 2017-18 MVP winner is averaging 31.5 points, 8.2 assists, and 5.8 rebounds in 26 games played. Harden is leading the NBA in points per game for a second straight year.
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