Vegas Over/Under: 43.5
Fromal’s Record Projection: 42-40 The Bet: Avoid but lean under
How you feel about this over/under probably depends on one crucial question: How easy is replacement Chris Paul?
The Los Angeles Clippers did a fantastic job reloading after learning that Paul desired a death to the Houston Rockets. Not only did they manage to pry some funds from his new home in a transaction after he opted in, but they also convinced Blake Griffin to re-sign before adding Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic to the fold.
This is a talented roster with upside and ability at pretty much every position. It’s far deeper than it has been in past years, though head coach Doc Rivers surely didn’t want to obtain depth at the cost of his team’s best player.
And that’s the enduring issue.
Paul wasn’t just the engine that made the Clippers operate; he basically was the Clippers.
Patrick Beverley and Teodosic ought to be solid replacements in the 1, but they can’t replicate his ability to run the offense perfectly.
Whether Paul was calling his own band or setting up teammates, he commanded the flow of the game as well as anyone. It’s why LAC was a staggering 19.6 points per 100 possessions better with him around the ground in 2016-17, in addition to why that he finished No. 2 overall in ESPN.com’s actual plus/minus, behind just LeBron James.
His job can’t be replicated.
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