When floor general and assist dynamo Chris Paul was shipped to the Houston Rockets this offseason in a blockbuster trade, many pundits felt that the Los Angeles Clippers’ ability to move the ball effectively would be drastically hurt.
Not head coach Doc Rivers.
In a Tuesday news conference to introduce some of the team’s offseason acquisitions, Rivers made the bold claim that the Clips would see an uptick in passing with Paul now in Houston.
— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) July 18, 2017
“We’ll have ball movement, you know,” Rivers told the media on Tuesday. “That’s one of the things, for the most part, that I’ve always preached. With Chris’ skill, you wanted to take advantage of what he could do, and he was a guy that needed the ball to make plays. And he did it so well, you kind of changed to do that.”
Rivers is right to point out that Paul needs the ball in his hands to be successful. However, the eight-time All-Star possesses Stockton-esque court vision, so having him initiate the offense made sense, even if it meant CP3 pounded the rock at times.
It’s possible the additions of new point guards Patrick Beverley and Milos Teodosic will result in more total passes for the Clippers, but that does not mean that the team’s overall offensive efficiency will increase next year. With Paul running the show, the Clippers boasted the fifth best overall offensive rating in the league during the 2016-17 season, and routinely ranked among the game’s top offenses throughout Paul’s tenure in L.A.
Rivers also made the dubious claim that his teams have always featured a heavy dose of ball movement.
While with the Orlando Magic, Rivers coached the isolation-heavy Tracy McGrady. In his most successful run as a head coach with the Boston Celtics, Rivers was at the helm with several ball stoppers and high usage-rate players in Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce.
It’s going to be a very interesting season for the new-look Lob City crew.