Shannon Sharpe reveals how the Houston Rockets can challenge an unhealthy Warriors squad in the West

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Shannon Sharpe explains to Skip Bayless and Joy Taylor how the biggest challenge to Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors is the health of their team. Plus, Shannon explains how James Harden and Chris Paul's Houston Rockets have the best chance to challenge the Warriors for the Western conference title.

- Who is the biggest threat to Golden State in less?

- Golden State Warriors' health.

- Hmm.

- Klay Thompson will be evaluated on the 22nd. They say Steph is going to be evaluated, say, in the next couple of days. Now KD is out, Skip, for two weeks. So all that withstanding, they're healthy, no one's beating them.

But if I got to pick a team-- and I think for the sake of this conversation, you want me to pick a team-- I'm going to save the Houston Rockets, because I believe, over the course of 48 minutes, they will get great guard play. Chris Paul and James Harden-- James Harden is playing out of his mind. He leads the NBA in scoring. I think he's third in assists. He's even rebounding the ball.

Yesterday, he got a blocked shot, Skip. Last time you heard blocked out and James Harden and the same breath?

- And he also leads on getting fouls shooting three pointers. But go ahead.

- He got me upset yesterday, because James Harden complained to the official about a non-foul call. Dude shoots 15 free throws a night. And one time they possibly miss one, he's complaining.

But Skip, the thing that they can do that very few teams can do, especially in the playoffs, Chris Paul-- Chris Paul is a great defensive point guard. Trevor Ariza can play great defense. PJ Tucker can play defense.

- Yes, he can.

- Clint Capela can play the post. Now, he's undersized when it comes to big Adams. But Adams is a different monster. So I believe the Houston Rockets, all that being said-- Chris Paul and James Harden, if they stay on this current place, they'll be, I think, the second teammates to average eight assists the more for an entire season. Magic Johnson and Norm Nixon did it '81, '82. And I think John Lucas and some Johnny Moore did it with the San Antonio Spurs back in early '80s.

- Oh, that's a blast from the past.

- Exactly. So this doesn't happen often.

So what you're going to get-- you're always going to be in great shape. You don't have to worry about, man, who's going to initiate the offense if Chris Paul's off the floor. James Harden. When James is off the floor, who's going to initiate the offense? Chris Paul.

And James Harden, again, down this stretch, Skip, he was spectacular. Step back three with 30 seconds. He got an alley-oop, lob to Capela. He's playing unbelievable. So with that being said--

And I love what Russ-- Russ is playing out of his mind again. But if you tell me he's going to average-- we see him have average triple doubles last year against the Rockets. And they got the doors blown off them. Like you'd like to say, you and Ron Parker, a gentleman's sweep. The lost it.

- I don't say that.

- Yeah, you do. Yeah. Oh, yeah. You say it.

- I just say they got swept in five. It's not even gentleman's.

- Yeah, yeah.

- You just got your butts swept.

- Yeah, because you like to use that against somebody else we know. But I ain't going to say no names. He averaged a triple double. One game, he had, what, 50, 52, 53 points and a triple double. And they lost.

If you tell me that he's going to shoot this efficiently, 15 to 22, and Steven Adams is going to give you 25 and be a monster on the board, and Paul George is going to be efficient, and Melo will be three or four from three, I say, Skip, you got a great chance. They'll probably take them seven games to lose. But I don't believe that's going to happen.

So with all that, to get right back to my original point, the Houston Rockets is the team, outside of the Warriors, their health, the Rockies are the team that's most likely to challenge them for the Western Conference title.