Even though the loss of Chris Paul is a devastating blow to the Los Angeles Clippers hopes of winning a championship, it will open the door for Blake Griffin to reach his full potential.
Throughout his career, Paul has been described as the type of player who constantly dribbles the ball as he tries to analyze what the opposing team is doing and where to pass the ball. In fact, during an interview on The Herd with Colin Cowherd his former Clipper teammate Glen “Big Baby” Davis accused him of dribbling too much; stating that Paul “has his way about himself. ‘I’m Chris Paul, give me the ball, I’m gonna dribble, dribble… I’ll shoot”. As a result of this, the Los Angeles Clippers implemented a pick and roll offense to allow Paul to have the ball in hands constantly. For instance, Paul would bring the ball up to the three-point line and then a big man would set a screen. Once the pick was set Paul would pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, Paul would go over it and take the wide open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, Paul would go over it as well and drive towards the basket where he would score or pass the ball to the player next to him or to the perimeter depending on whether he was double teamed or not.
However, the Clippers are expected to make a dramatic change to their offensive system because Paul opted to leave in free agency. Throughout next season the Los Angeles Clippers should implement an offensive system that showcases Blake Griffin’s ability to pass the ball and get to the basket. This is because according to Bleacher Report Griffin has shown the ability to ” lead fast breaks, grabbing rebounds and immediately pushing the pace up court… lobs out of the high post”. As a result, they should adopt a similar offense to that of the Cleveland Cavaliers with Lebron James. In this offensive system, Griffin is supposed to walk the ball up until the three-point line and evaluates how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide-open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. Although this playing style has been handy for the Cavaliers, the Clippers may take another page out of Cleveland’s playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have Griffin act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.
Furthermore, if the team decides to go this route, it would be hard to limit the impact of Griffin on the game. This is because the Clippers organization has filled the roster with enough players who are capable of consistently making a three. As a result, opposing teams can’t afford to clog up the paint or double-team Griffin because it will give the team a wide open three. Due to this, Harden will be able to hurt opposing teams in multiple ways which increase the likelihood that he will be able to accumulate the statistics and wins necessary to be in contention for the award.