Vegas Over/Under: 43.5
The Record Projection: 42-40 of fromal The Bet: Prevent but lean under
The way you feel about this over/under likely depends on one crucial question: How simple is replacing Chris Paul?
The Los Angeles Clippers did a great job reloading after learning that Paul desired a departure to the Houston Rockets. Not only did they manage to pry some assets from his new home in a trade after he opted in, but they also convinced Blake Griffin to re-sign before adding Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic to the fold.
This is a talented roster with ability and upside at pretty much every position. It is far deeper than it’s been in previous decades, however head coach Doc Rivers surely didn’t wish to acquire depth at the expense of his team’s best player.
And that is the issue that is enduring.
Paul was not just the engine that made the Clippers run; he basically was the Clippers.
Patrick Beverley and Teodosic should be solid replacements at the 1, but they can not 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 is why LAC was a staggering 19.6 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor in 2016-17, in addition to the reason that he finished No. 2 overall in ESPN.com’s actual plus/minus, behind only LeBron James.
His job can’t be replicated.
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