Chris Paul Determines Clippers Success

8/22/12 in NBA   |   AJ_88   |   166 respect

There is no denying that the feeling entering the 2012-'13 regular season has changed over the last two months. Blake Griffin went down in Team USA practice with a partially torn meniscus in his knee and underwent surgery soon thereafter. The Clippers and their fans felt uncharacteristically optimistic even with the news of Blake's surgery because their unquestioned leader, Chris Paul, was healthy and running Team USA over the summer. 

May 20, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) reacts during game four of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs at the Staples Center. The Spurs defeated the Clippers 102-99 to win the series 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIREAnd then it was revealed: a torn ligament in his right thumb, which required surgery and and eight-week recovery period that begins now. If all goes to plan, CP3 will return in time for the start of the regular season and the Clippers will possess one of the deepest squads in all of basketball.

Entering last season, the Clippers were trying to build upon an abysmal 32-50 record from the season prior.  They did that and more by clinching the fifth seed in the Western conference, eliminating the Memphis Grizzlies in their first round matchup before being swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Paul spearheaded the team's success at the point guard position as the floor general on the court and in the huddle. He had to make up for the lack of brains at the coaching helm on numerous occasions.

He finished third in MVP voting, behind only LeBron James and Kevin Durant. He led the league in steals.  He averaged 20 points, 9 assists while shooting 48% from the field and 86% from the charity stripe. His leadership was increasingly evident on almost every possession as his vocality proved vital to the Clippers success. 

With the talent he has surrounding him entering this season (key additions: Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford), Paul should have no problem being thrown directly into the fire having worked an entire season with the Clippers last season. Having absolutely no practice time, training camp or preseason to establish a rapport with his teammates entering last season, Paul managed to gel at an incredible rate. 

Entering this season, the sky's the limit. Paul is also entering his contract year, and although a down year will not work against him very much, everyone wants the largest possible number written on their check at the end of the month. CP3 has the will and the talent to take this squad to even loftier heights. Expect nothing less.  
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