Sports Out West

Los Angeles Clippers: The importance of being Chris Paul

Photo Credit: JD Mercer/USA TODAY Sports

Let’s talk about Chris Paul.

He’s working on 12 straight double-doubles of assists and points (knock on wood) Wednesday night, the longest such streak to start the season since Magic Johnson. If he gets another double-double of the assists and points variety, it will be an NBA record for longest streak ever.

Not bad at all for a 6’0 point guard.

Paul’s quickly made himself into the face of the Los Angeles Clippers. No such deal for the Clippers was as important as the one that sent Eric Gordon to the now New Orleans Pelicans and Paul to the Clippers. This season is a microcosm of the importance that Paul presents to the team. They’re an NBA-leading 109.3 points per game, third in assists at 25.8, and Paul’s second in the NBA in steals with 2.6. The offense is running smoothly behind the wheels of the tough point guard.

But the issues of having a porous defense, allowing the 29th best 105.7 points per game, and limited play-makers like DeAndre Jordan and to some degree, Blake Griffin, are all problems the team needs addressed.

Thankfully, Paul’s one of the NBA’s best in doing so. He leads the league in assists with his 12.6 per game and makes nightly contributions of facilitating to his fellow teammates. With the exception of J.J. Redick, Paul’s been the main player behind the entire Clippers’ offense. He’s the main shot-caller, second coach on offense besides coach Doc Rivers, and the entire flow of their motion offense.

Before we praise Paul too much, the defensive holes and assignments that the Clippers miss nightly are real issues.

While Rivers came into Los Angeles with plenty of fanfare, he’s behind arguably the worst defensive effort in the NBA. There are constant lapses in defense from everyone not named Paul or Jordan. While players like Jared Dudley and Redick are not renowned for their defense, it needs to be addressed for the Clips to be taken seriously in the Western Conference. 

If Paul continues to play at an NBA-record pace, it will definitely overshadow a lot of the short-comings this Clippers’ team plays with. But sooner rather than later, the issues of defense will need to be addressed. Most likely by the Clipper leader himself. 

Photo Credit: JD Mercer/USA TODAY Sports

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Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee is a sports and video game journalist born and raised in Southern California. He is great at finding the important detail in the mundane and ordinary. He has published articles for Riot Games, IGN.com, 1UP.com, Rotowire.com, and SBNation.