Chris Paul is revered as one of the greatest passing guards in NBA history, but now that he’s a member of the Houston Rockets, his former head coach in Doc Rivers thinks the Los Angeles Clippers could actually be better off at distributing the ball.
“Well, we’ll have ball movement (now that Paul is gone). That’s one of the things, for the most part, that I’ve always preached,” Rivers said Tuesday at an introductory press conference for his offseason acquisitions. “With Chris’ skill, you wanted to take advantage of what he could do. He was a guy that needed the ball to make plays, and he did it so well that you kind of changed to do that.
“If you look at my work historically, it’s been more of a ball movement, cut, basketball team, and that’s what we’re going to get back to doing.”
Even with Paul ranking fourth in the Association in dimes with 9.2 per game, the Clippers as a whole were only 15th overall in that department (22.5), 13th in passes made (301) and received (299.8), and 23rd and 25th, respectively, in secondary (4.8) and potential (42.1) assists.
There’s no arguing that the Point God was Los Angeles’ primary playmaker, especially with Blake Griffin missing a good chunk of the campaign through injury. The offense was in his hands (seventh in NBA in time of possession at 7.2 minutes) when he saw the floor, and while the Clippers did run the second-most isolation plays (929), it wasn’t too big a hindrance to their fourth-ranked offensive attack (110.3 points per 100 possessions).
Rivers ultimately has his vision for how he wants the Clippers to function on the hardwood, and that’s spreading the floor, not being stagnant, and creating as many open looks as possible. The likes of Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Austin Rivers, and newcomer Milos Teodosic don’t have Paul’s resume, but perhaps one of the four can thrive as the floor general Rivers wants them to be.