The L.A. Clippers traded for Chris Paul on Wednesday, and in about 10 days we'll see what promises to be the beginning of something sweet as CP3 will take the court with the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, All-Star and dunk champ Blake Griffin. As a rook in 2010-11, Griffin became must-watch television for fans all over the world thanks to his powerful above-the-rim game; he managed to do what the New York Knicks could not and make Timofey Mozgov famous in America. The Clippers became a huge road draw as well as fans paid for the opportunity to see the kid in the flesh, dunking on everything.
That version of Blake Griffin had Baron Davis, Eric Bledsoe and Mo Williams running the point for me. Boom has always been a good passer (he's averaged more than eight assists per game thrice), Bledsoe is quick and has decent vision and Mo ... well, Mo threw more alley-oops in a couple dozen games in L.A. than he had in the previous 7-1/2 years, and he played with LeBron.
But Paul is something else entirely. CP3 has twice led the league assists per game, and has a career average 9.9 per contest (tops among all active players) while having played for coaches (Byron Scott and Monty Williams, with some Jeff Bower tossed in) who ran some of the most deliberate offenses in basketball. His career assist rate is 46 percent, which is No. 2 all-time, behind just John Stockton. He is the best and most exacting passer since Stockton, with the possible exception of Steve Nash; at the very least, CP3 and Nash have court vision so far above most of their peers -- guys like Davis, Bledsoe and Williams -- that it's almost a ridiculous comparison to even make. (Jason Kidd and Deron Williams should be mentioned in the supreme court vision club, as well.)
Add that court vision to Griffin's destructive tendencies, and you have something monstrous on your hands. It's hard to tell how big CP3's impact will be from Day 1; Paul has never had a finisher like Griffin on his team. Tyson Chandler circa 2008 would seem to be an appropriate comparison, but the Clippers will hope that DeAndre Jordan more closely emulates him, while Griffin refines his already-strong floor game to mimic David West. But there's no question that CP3 is the best passer Griffin will have ever played with, that he's also a great shooter who will help space the floor and that this is a huge step in Blake's young career. What we saw in 2010-11 may just be the surface of what Griffin delivers over the next few seasons.
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