Vegas Over/Under: 43.5
The Record Projection: 42-40 of fromal The Bet: Avoid but lean under
The way you feel about this over/under likely depends on one key question: How simple is replacing Chris Paul?
The Los Angeles Clippers did a fantastic job reloading after studying that Paul wanted a death to the Houston Rockets. Not only did they manage to pry some assets from his new home in a transaction after he opted in, but they also convinced Blake Griffin to re-sign before adding Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic into the fold.
This is a gifted roster with ability and upside at pretty much every position. It’s far deeper than it’s been in previous decades, however head coach Doc Rivers surely didn’t wish to acquire depth at the cost of his team’s best player.
And that’s the problem.
Paul wasn’t only the engine which made the Clippers operate; he basically was that the Clippers.
Patrick Beverley and Teodosic should be strong replacements in the 1, but they can’t replicate his ability to run the offense perfectly.
Whether Paul was calling his own number or setting up teammates, he commanded the flow of the game as well as anyone. It’s why LAC was a shocking 19.6 points per 100 possessions better with him on the ground in 2016-17, in addition to the reason he finished No. 2 overall in ESPN.com’s actual plus/minus, behind only LeBron James.
His job simply can not be replicated.
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