According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Houston’s head coach Mike D’Antoni expects the Rockets to go through an adjustment period as Paul plays his way back into shape, as well as how to play alongside James Harden.
“What we’ve done up to now doesn’t count,” D’Antoni said. “We’ve got a new team tomorrow. When you put that big of a rock into a pond, there’s big waves. … We have to endure the next two or three games and smooth it out as we go along.”
After he suffered a knee injury in a preseason win over the Memphis Grizzlies, Paul has only played in one game so far this season. In that game, he helped the Rockets overcome a 17-point deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors 122-121 on opening night.
Despite scoring only four points on 2-for-9 shooting, Paul played 33 minutes where he racked up 10 assists, eight rebounds, and two steals in the win.
Mike D'Antoni expects Chris Paul to play tomorrow and start pic.twitter.com/aIwTKuIW6V
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) November 15, 2017
Unlike his days with the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul isn’t returning to a team who fell under .500 during his absence. Behind an early MVP candidate in Harden, the Rockets went 10-4 with Paul sideline, which included a six-game win streak that ended Tuesday night in a 129-113 loss to the Toronto Raptors.
According to Houston Chronicle reporter, Johnathan Feigen, Paul is expected to start and play about 20 minutes in Thursday’s game against the Suns.