It has been a pretty busy summer for the Los Angeles Clippers following a disappointing first-round collapse in the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies. And in the midst of the overhaul, in order to avoid such disappointment in the future, they have gone and filled up arguably the most important position with quality for years to come; re-signing the best point guard in the game and bringing in his former protégé to back him up.
I cannot remember any players in recent history who have had as great an impact as Chris Paul has had in L.A. Not only did his acquisition transform the Clippers into a championship-caliber squad, it also completely changed the culture of a laughingstock and made it the most popular–and perhaps envied team–in the association.
Now, Los Angeles has a new franchise running the town and fans can break out their red, white and blue jerseys and wear them with pride, rather than hiding them in shame.
Hell, Paul even made the impossible happen as owner Donald Sterling is now actually spending money on the team. The same Donald Sterling who refused to sign extra players when the team was down to the league minimum eight active players and one even played despite having a swollen jaw. The same Donald Sterling who refused to pay or even chip in towards one of his coach’s medical bill to treat prostate cancer and asked his head coach if a trainer was really necessary.
Anyhow, I digress.
As a player, Chris Paul is extremely quick, with great vision and awareness, plus a great shooting touch to go with it. For his career, he has averaged 18.6 points, 9.8 assists and has finished third or better among assist leaders five times. All while shooting 35 percent from 3-point range, 47 percent overall and 85 percent from the line. (Basketballreference.com)
His defensive is also pretty darn good too as illustrated by his career average of 2.4 steals per game, which has led to him leading the league in steals per game in five of his eight years in the NBA. Those sort of statistics are the reason why he has five NBA All-Defensive team selections under his belt and is constantly among the Most Valuable Player chatter.
Having backed up Paul as a rookie, Darren Collison seemed geared up for glory in pastures new after filling in admirably at times for his superstar mentor. However, neither he nor his numbers never really took off to the levels that were expected as he averaged 11.8 points and five assists in his three years between the Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks, following 12.4 points and 5.7 assists in New Orleans during his rookie year.
And after losing his starting spot to Mike James last year, Collison is now reunited with the man who showed him the ropes in first year. To make it even better, he is now playing for a coach that was formerly a point guard himself in addition to being one of the best coaches in the game so, if anything, the move should help his basketball acumen.
Unfortunately for him, he will be replacing a fan favorite in Eric Bledsoe. Therefore he will have added pressure to play well. But when comparing the two, Collison does possess a better jump shot with a career average of 36 percent from deep, compared to Bledsoe’s 30 percent, and he is just as quick … if maybe even quicker. Furthermore, he has better assist numbers even when the playing time is adjusted to per 36 minutes, so he may actually be an upgrade for L.A.
If his career so far is anything to go by, Darren Collison will make for a great backup point guard and the L.A. Clippers will continue to have the best secondary unit in the Association.