James Harden, Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker.
"Small-Ball" is categorized as an uptempo style of play that deemphasizes strength and low-post scoring. The smaller lineup reflected by this decision allows the ball to change hands more fluidly. In short, the best ball handlers, passers and shooters are abridged to create a 5-person unit where positional play gets cast away. Every player gets bumped up a peg from their usual position, except of course the point guard. Even so, point guards are being phased out in the modern game save for exceptional cases. The two-guard systems is meant to confuse the opposition into thinking the buildup is starting from one end, only to have the rock passed to another ball handler in open space.
Houston's 5-person "Small-Ball" unit of James Harden, Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker have become the talk of the NBA. The unit has made a case for itself in Fourth Quarter situations over the course of the regular season. Harden & Paul share play-making responsibilities, while Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon operate on the wings. Trevor Ariza is a terrific spot-up shooter, who generally stays on the perimeter. Conversely, Eric Gordon is a better isolation player who can create his own offense. Often times, it's Gordon who is counted upon to grab the team by the collar when Harden runs into foul trouble.
Lastly, PJ Tucker would be last to pick up his medal, but don't base that on his teammate's perception of his impact. Tucker defies the odds as the team's defensive stopper. His job is to guard several positions, up and down the lineup with the same effectiveness. His leadership skills also play a factor in manifesting team chemistry. He said it himself: You want to go small? Alright, fine. We'll go small too. And like I said, our small lineup is the best in the league."
Tune in on Sunday for Game 3 against the Golden State Warriors.