2017-2018 Los Angeles Clippers Preview: Life Without Chris Paul

10.03.17 10 months ago

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2016-17 Record: 51-31 (T-4th in West)

Players Added: Patrick Beverley (Trade with HOU), Sam Dekker (Trade with HOU), Jawun Evans (Draft), Danilo Gallinari (Trade with DEN), Montrezl Harrell (Trade with HOU), Marshall Plumlee (FA), Willie Reed (FA), Milos Teodosic (FA), Sindarius Thornwell (Draft), Louis Williams (Trade with HOU), Jamil Wilson (FA)

Players Lost: Alan Anderson (FA), Brandon Bass (FA), Jamal Crawford (Trade with ATL), Raymond Felton (FA), Luc Mbah a Moute (FA), Chris Paul (Trade with HOU), Paul Pierce (Retirement), J.J. Redick (FA), Marreese Speights (FA), Diamond Stone (Trade with ATL)

Projected Team MVP: Blake Griffin

Chris Paul isn’t walking through the door in Los Angeles and the Clippers are, officially, Blake Griffin’s team. Yes, DeAndre Jordan is a tremendous player and there is talent elsewhere on the roster, but the Clippers invested a massive five-year deal in Griffin after dealing Paul to the Rockets and that was a clear sign of the team’s intentions to make the All-Star power forward their centerpiece. Unfortunately, Griffin is already battling injury before the deal even kicks in, as the toe ailment that cost him the end of the 2017 Playoffs has rendered him a question mark for the start of the 2017-2018 season.

If we assume full health (at least at the start of the campaign) for Griffin, the ceiling is immense. He is a 28-year-old forward with career averages of 21.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game and, if nothing else, Griffin should be even more of an offensive focal point without Paul next to him. However, durability and mileage are real concerns. Griffin hasn’t cracked the 70-game barrier in three full seasons and he seems to be good for at least one semi-serious injury per season. When on the floor, there is no question that Griffin is a big-time talent but, without Paul, the Clippers will be far more reliant on simple availability from their best player and it remains to be seen if he can live up to the billing in that regard.

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