The 2013 NBA playoffs started well for the Los Angeles Clippers winning the first two games of their first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Including a game winning floater by Chris Paul in game two. Yet, Memphis made the necessary adjustments and won the next four games to end Los Angeles’ season.
A disappointing end to a franchise best 56 wins and their first Pacific Division title. Like Dwight Howard, Paul got ejected in an elimination game loss.
Now the attention is on the future for the Clippers as head coach Vinny Del Negro might get fired and their best player is a free agent. Owner Donald Sterling has never been known to consistently open his wallet and keep a talented team in tact. Another issue, power forward Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan who each struggle offensively.
While there’s no question the two can run up and down the floor and make highlight reel dunks that doesn’t win basketball games. Teams don’t even bother defending Jordan and dare Griffin to take mid-range jump shots.
Here’s a look at the shot chart for the season.
When Paul had his best season in the NBA in 2008-2009 averaging 22.8 points, 11 assists and 5.5 rebounds, he had an undersized power forward in David West who could hit a mid-range jumper and do work in the post. This meant teams couldn’t play defense by sagging off of him. To illustrate this point here’s a look at the shot zones from West from the 2010-2011 season.
With Paul not likely re-signing with the Clippers it seems that the Dallas Mavericks are about to become the front runners for his services. This past off-season the team failed to sign free agent point guard Deron Williams who decided to stay with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Mavericks have done a great job of limiting long-term deals and have a number of contracts coming off the books including: Elton Brand, Mike James, Chris Kaman, Shawn Marion (early termination option), O.J. Mayo (player option), Anthony Morrow and Brandan Wright. Rodrigue Beaubois and Darren Collison are restricted free agents.
By going out and acquiring Paul the move gives Dirk Nowitzki another shot at a ring and with the cap space the opportunity to bring in possibly Howard who isn’t likely going to get a max contract from any team or another option is Josh Smith.
Nowitizki has made his living shooting the basketball and he becomes more dangerous with a playmaker running the point. Making Dallas the favorite to land Paul.