Vegas Over/Under: 43.5
Fromal’s Record Projection: 42-40 The Bet: lean although Avoid under
How you feel about this over/under likely depends on one crucial question: How easy is replacement Chris Paul?
The Los Angeles Clippers did a great job reloading after studying that Paul wanted a departure 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 into re-sign before adding Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic to the fold.
This is a talented roster with upside and ability at pretty much every position. It’s far deeper than it’s been in previous years, though head coach Doc Rivers surely didn’t want to obtain depth at the expense of his team’s best player.
And that’s the issue that is enduring.
Paul was not only the engine that made the Clippers run; he essentially 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 band or setting up teammates, he controlled the flow of the game as well as anyone. It is the reason LAC was a staggering 19.6 points per 100 possessions better with him around the floor in 2016-17, in addition to the reason that he finished No. 2 overall in ESPN.com’s real plus/minus, behind only LeBron James.
His job can not be replicated.
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