Photo by the Denver Post
Point guard Chris Paul has now been in the NBA for nine seasons. But he’s never made it past the second round of the playoffs, and that is something he said during this recently concluded post-season that he really wants.
With that in mind, let’s examine the 2013-14 campaign he put together. Paul averaged 19.1 points, a league-high 10.7 assists and a league-high 2.48 steals. Not a darn thing wrong with any of those numbers, even though none represents a personal best. With scoring machines like Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford around, it would have been difficult for Paul to surpass his highest scoring season of 22.8 set in 2008-09 with the New Orleans Hornets.
If anything, the one thing Paul showed that may have been somewhat surprising is that – gasp – he’s human. In 62 regular-season games – he missed 20 games because of injury – he had the league’s best assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.57.
During the first four games of the Western Conference semifinals against Oklahoma City, Paul had committed just six turnovers while doling out 46 assists. But in Game 5 at Oklahoma City, he had a very uncharacteristic five turnovers – two down the stretch that played a big role in his team losing the game after it led by 13 points with just over four minutes to play and by seven with 49.2 seconds left.
Paul and the Clippers were not able to rebound from that, and lost the series in Game 6 at Staples Center.
Since Paul doesn’t really have to improve upon any particular part of his game, all he really has to do moving forward to next season is forget about what he called the toughest moment of his basketball life in the Game 5 post-game news conference.
If Paul can do that – and the feeling here is he will – he will be able to use that experience as a springboard toward the success he and every other NBA player wants to reach – the NBA Finals.
Paul is under contract with the Clippers through the 2017-18 season, so he’s not going anywhere. He will make $20,068,563 in 2014-15.