Like an early playoff exit, Chris Paul is gone from Los Angeles. Using the opt-out clause in his contract, the 12-year veteran gave the order to harbor a trade to the Houston Rockets.
There is no denying CP3’s natural talent and point-guard skills, but overall, his tenure in LA will be remembered as disappointing.
Sure, Paul has been a vital part in turning around a historically porous franchise helping the Clippers go from a team never to win more that 47 games in the regular season to averaging 52 wins during his 6-year stint. However, he was never able to get Los Angeles out of the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs and was inconsistent in games that mattered most.
In a 2014 playoff game, the Los Angeles Clippers needed to hold onto the ball to sew-up a 3-2 series lead over the Thunder. Unfortunately Paul turned the ball over giving OKC life and a chance to take the lead in the game.
After a timeout, the Thunder inbounded the ball to Russel Westbrook where he dribbled to the top of the key, raised up for a shot, and was fouled by guess who? Chris Paul! This gave Westbrook three free throws (he made them all) and a 105-104 lead with 6.4 left in the game.
In an anti-climatic finish, Paul got the final touch of the game and drove baseline before turning the basketball over in the waning moments of the game (SEE VIDEO BELOW). This was the turning point of what “could have” been in Los Angeles.
In an era that it is accepted to have a “can’t be em’ join em” mentality, Paul heads to Houston to join a team that trailed and then beat the Clippers after being down 3-1 in 2015 Western Conference Semifinals. To Clippers fans, the irony adds insult to injury, and to the cynical, solace in cliche to underachievement.
Paul was a stud in the regular season making 5 all-star appearances as a Clipper as well as the same number of All-NBA 1st Team Defensive selections and was an All-NBA First Teamer three times during that span. This production warranted a contract that paid him over 22 million per year. Clippers fans now ask if that money was really worth it?
Although CP3 is great at creating highlights, he simply has not delivered when facing adversity in playoffs and legacy defining moments.