Chris Paul’s early-season play has the Los Angeles Clippers at 8-3 through their first 11 games of the season.
We knew his presence on the Clippers would automatically make them take a big leap in terms of competitiveness, and we were proven right last year when Los Angeles reached the playoffs. However, expectations are even higher now, especially since the Clippers brought in even more veteran talent to beef up their rotation.
Additions like Jamal Crawford, Grant Hill, Matt Barnes and Lamar Odom have made Los Angeles one of the most experienced teams in the NBA. The Clippers also have youth in Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe, creating a nice mix of talent.
But this Clippers team is all about Paul.
Paul, so far this season, is averaging 15.6 points, 9.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game. Against the Los Angeles Lakers he dropped 18 points, 15 assists, six boards and three steals, and the next night, against the Golden State Warriors, he had a season-high 27 points and 10 dimes. Those are just two examples of how tremendous the point guard has been.
Now, Paul struggled to find his shooting rhythm in a recent loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he still made enough plays down the stretch to keep the Clippers in the game. That’s what he’s all about. Paul loves getting others involved and feeling confident in their ability, as that will eventually open up even more space for him offensively.
We’re not quite sold that the Clippers are a lock to make a deep run in the playoffs, but anything’s possible with Paul leading the way. He knows what it will take to win at the highest level and his confidence has rubbed off on his teammates.
That will make Los Angeles a tough out for whoever they face.