With Chris Paul playing in every one of the the Los Angeles Clippers 64 games thus far, it might be fair to suggest that he is having his finest season in Los Angeles.
Thus far on the season, Paul is averaging 18.5 points, 10.1 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game, which pretty much puts him on par with his career numbers. The fact that Paul has played in every game this season for the Clippers while being the one constant all year is perhaps the reason this could be Paul’s most valuable season with the Clippers.
Now, he is dealing with a balky knee (as reported on Twitter by Dan Woike, the Clippers beat writer for the Orange County Register), which did give him trouble in Sunday’s game with the Warriors. However, X-Rays came back negative. Paul said he is fine, and he did suit up for Monday’s game against the Timberwolves.
Maybe down the stretch Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers will give Paul some occasional rest in order to be ready for the playoffs. Then again, what coach whose team is definitely going to the playoffs doesn’t do that? With just eight more games played this season, Paul will have surpassed the most games he has played with the Clippers since being traded to Los Angeles from New Orleans prior to the 2011-12 season.
All that being said, Paul is having an excellent season regardless of health. His 18.5 points would be his third best mark with the club. However, his 10.1 assists per game would be his second best mark with the Clippers, while his 4.8 rebounds per game would be his best total in Los Angeles. Also, he is shooting .375 from three-point territory, which would also represent a Clipper-best for Paul.
With the Clippers missing superstar Blake Griffin for the last 13 games, it has been the venerable Paul that is keeping it all together in Los Angeles. The Clippers have gone a more-than respectable 8-5 without Griffin.
Since playing without Griffin, Paul is upping his game even more. He is averaging 21 points, 12.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game in 12 games with his “Lob City” buddy.
So when you combine Paul’s spotless health this season, his remarkable consistency and his ability to keep the Clippers on the correct course even without Griffin, Paul is probably doing his best work in his brief four-season stint with the Clippers.
For Paul, though, he will probably only be measured for what he does in the playoffs, as the Clippers haven still not gotten past the conference semi-finals with Paul running the show. The Clippers are now 41-23 and currently hold down the fifth-spot in the Western Conference playoff race. They are just three games out of the third spot, so there is time to move up the standings.
With Paul being old reliable, DeAndre Jordan emerging as a legitimate stud as a rebounding machine and with the team getting Griffin back soon, the Clippers should be well-equipped for a deep playoff run this season.
While the return of Griffin and the play of Jordan are indeed vital to the Clippers success, it will be the steady stewardship of Paul that will ultimately define how far the Clippers will go this season. And based on the year Paul is having, this might be the year the pieces of the puzzle may come together in Los Angeles.
All individual Stats were complete as Monday afternoon