True Hoops

True Hoops

Saturday, December 17, 2011

If You Can't Join 'em...... Beat 'em

The Clippers take the Point in L.A.

No, Chris paul did not join the Lakers.
But as it turns out, he may be on the best team in L.A. anyway.

Within in the course of a week the fortunes of the Lakers and Clippers have dramatically gone in opposite directions right before our very eyes.

Has anyone in the NBA had as bad an offseason as the Lakers?
Conversely, has anyone in the NBA had as good an offseason as the Clippers?

Over the past couples of years, we've often heard that the Clippers have young talent. Well with the addition of Paul, and Billups, the Clips are brimming with talent and leadership. We're talking top 3 point guard/superstar leadership and 7 straight conference finals leadership. Maybe the Clippers aren't going to win the NBA championship. But they surely have a squad to get a top 4 seed in the west.

Don't think so?
Let me ask you a few questions:

Question 1: If Chris Paul was able to average 10 assists a game last year with his second best player being an injured David West, how many assists do you think he will average now? Keep in mind, he only has an out-of-this-world young superstar at the 4, a former Finals MVP/Mr. Bigshot at the 2 , a career 17 and 6 guy at the 3, and an athletic 7-footer at the five.

Question 2: If Blake Griffin was able to get 214 dunks last season, how many do you think he will get this year with Paul throwing him the ball? More importantly, how much better do you think Paul will make him?

Question 3: Do you think Paul can turn DeAndre Jordan into the next Tyson Chandler? You know, kind of like how he turned Tyson Chandler into Tyson Chandler a few years ago, when the Hornets finished with the 2 seed in the west. And for your info, Chandler is a career 8 and 9 guy, with 1.4 blocks per game. At only 23, Jordan is a career 7 and 7 guy with 1.8 blocks per game.

With their additions in the offseason, the Clippers have made all the right moves.
What have the Lakers done?

Okay, they tried to hit a home run and get Chris Paul themselves. But what would the cost have been? Besides a guy named Kobe Bryant, the Lakers strength the past few years has been the trees on their frontline named Gasol, Bynum, and Odom. I don't know if breaking that up for Chris Paul was a good idea. But what's worse than breaking up the bigs to get Paul? How about not getting Paul and then losing Odom for nothing because you insulted a major part of your championship core?

Really, there were so many other moves the Lakers could have made to vastly improve their point guard spot. What about going after Jamal Crawford or JJ Barea? Or better yet, once the Knicks let him go, why not doing everything in their power so they could acquire Billups? Could you imagine a line up of Billups, Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum, and Odom? There were plenty of points guards that could have made them better this season while keeping their bigs in tact. And they still could have made a play for CP3 or Deron Williams as a free agent.

The Lakers are still relevant becuase they have Kobe, a top 5 power forward, and a top 5 Center. But they have done obsolutely nothing to address their weakness at the point guard position. Anyone who watched last years playoffs knows they were severely outplayed at that position. And it's not just point guard, the Lakers don't have any guard other than Kobe that can create for themselves or others on their team.

Contrast that with Clippers, who have a top 5 power forward of their own to go along with a glut of quick and/or gritty guards that can handle, create and score: Paul, Billups, Mo Williams, Eric Bledsoe, Randy Foye.

I'm sure Kobe relishes a challenge, but in light of everything mentioned above, is it really unreasonable to think the Clippers now have a better team than the Lakers?

And let me just finish with Chauncey.
He could never beat Chris Paul at point once he got to New York (neither could Raymond Felton). Even after moving across the country, he still couldn't beat Chris Paul at Point in L.A. Ironically, he'll just have to settle for being Paul's teammate and move over to the two guard spot (which he did successfully during the 2010 world Championships with Derrick Rose at the point). And think about this, Billups already ended one Lakers reign with the Pistons in '04. He might just be apart of another Lakers decline again. Hollywood ending? Hopefully Billups gets to ride off into the sunset out west.

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