Chris Paul sat down (or at least I assume he sat) earlier this week for a phone interview with ESPN Los Angeles. During this interview, Paul spoke very highly of teammate, Blake Griffin, even saying the 24-year old power forward is crucial to the Clippers’ success.
“Blake is one of those guys, where his age has nothing to do with anything,” Paul said in a phone interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com this week. “People may say he’s a young guy, but he’s been special in this league, he’s been an All-Star. His voice carries a lot of weight and I think our team will definitely go as Blake goes.
“He’s our guy, and he’s good enough to do so.”
Paul speaks of Griffin’s part in leading the Los Angeles Clippers. Blake has plenty of ability, and is one of the league’s premiere names. He does need to find ways to impact his team outside of athletic plays and bone-crushing dunks. If Griffin can improve his post game, or add a go-to move inside, his potential will take another step, and the possibilities will open up. This is something we’ve said about Dwight Howard for years now.
Blake took a small dip in his statistical line last season, averaging 18 ppg and 8.3 rpg, after averaging 20.7 ppg and 10.9 rpg in his Sophomore season. Blake did manage to land another All-Star selection, and does remain to be one of the league’s most popular players. His highlight tape shows his explosive dominance inside, but sooner or later he’ll need to take the next step.
The Clippers have cleaned up this off-season, landing J.J Redick, Jared Dudley, Darren Collison and Byron Mullins in free agency/trades. They’re looking like a squad who is ready to compete for a championship in 2014.
“It’s been a great summer for us. I think we’ve both had an opportunity to grow,” Paul said. “As you get older you realize it’s all about winning and I think we both realize we really need each other in order to do that.”
The time seems like now for Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the run-n-gun Los Angeles Clippers, and Chris Paul agrees.
“There’s no excuses,” Paul said. “For me, years from now I’ll never remember we won 56 games in the regular season [in 2012]. The only thing I’ll remember is we were up 2-0 and we lost 4-2. That’s all I remember. I just know we lost.
“It’s something I think about every day. I’m going to keep fighting until something gives. Ricky Bobby said it best,” Paul said. “‘If you’re not first you’re last’ and I’ve been last the past eight seasons.”
You sort of get the feel that the Clippers will be tough to beat this season. The moves they have made to land shooters like Redick and Dudley, a quality backup at the 4 and 5 in Mullins, and a dynamic young point guard to replace Eric Bledsoe in Darren Collison, strikes me as moves that teams make when they’re ready to win a title.
Lob City has my early vote for most interesting team in the western conference.