Chris Paul Hamstring Injury Officially Closes Rockets Championship Window


Chris Paul strained his left hamstring in Thursday’s loss to the Heat, and will be out “some time,” the team said Thursday. It is now the 6th time in his career that Paul will have suffered an injured hamstring. He injured his right hamstring in the Western Conference Finals, and missed games six and seven, losses to the Warriors.

Big picture, it’s safe to say the Rockets Championship window has closed. They’re not trading James Harden, the reigning MVP and their best player. There’s no market for Paul, the oft-injured point guard, not with him making these figures in the next three seasons:

age 34: $38.5 million
age 35: $41.3 million
age 36: $44.2 million (player option)

Their 3rd best player is Clint Capela, who is averaging 17-11, which is very nice for a 24-year old. He’s not fetching you a superstar. After Capela, there’s very little depth. Toss in a new owner who is probably not going to be thrilled at the monster luxury tax coming Houston’s way (an estimated $27.4 million) and the Rockets aren’t making a deep playoff run, and changes are going to be difficult to make.

The Rockets are 0-5 without CP3 this season, and the injury stinks for the NBA, the Rockets, and of course, Paul. Only 33, Paul’s recurring injuries can’t be ignored as he enters his mid-30s.

At 16-15, there’s still 50 games for the Rockets to get into the playoffs, and if the 3-pointers are falling, make a run. If Paul is out an extended period of time, they’ll struggle to make the playoffs. Their biggest edge last year was the 3-point shooting. But look at the difference in 3-pointers shot and made this year. The rest of the NBA is closing in:

Team 3FGM ….. 3FGA
1. Houston 15.3 ….. 42.3
2. Brooklyn 12.7 ….. 35.7
3. Cleveland 12.0 ….. 32.1
4. Toronto 11.8 ….. 33.0
5. Dallas 11.8 ….. 32.8
6. Denver 11.5 ….. 30.9

Team 3FGM ….. 3FGA
1. Houston 14.4 …..41.6
2. Milwaukee 13.9 ….. 39.6
3. Boston 13.3 ….. 36.6
4. Miami 12.2 ….. 35.9
5. Brooklyn 12.1 … 35.7
6. Charlotte 12.0 ….. 33.6

The Rockets will always have last season, though.