Los Angeles Clippers
Vegas Over/Under: 43.5
The Record Projection: 42-40 of fromal The Bet: Avoid but lean under
The way you feel about this over/under likely depends on one key question: Just how easy is replacement Chris Paul?
The Los Angeles Clippers did a great job reloading after studying that Paul desired a death to the Houston Rockets. Not only did they manage to pry some assets 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 is far deeper than it’s been in previous years, however head coach Doc Rivers certainly didn’t wish to obtain depth at the expense of his team’s best player.
And that’s the problem.
Paul was not just the engine which made the Clippers run; he essentially was that the Clippers.
Patrick Beverley and Teodosic should be strong replacements at the 1, but they can’t replicate his ability to run the offense perfectly.
Whether Paul was calling his own number or setting up teammates, he commanded the flow of the game as well as anyone. It is the reason LAC was a shocking 19.6 points per 100 possessions better with him on the ground in 2016-17, as well as why that he finished No. 2 overall in ESPN.com’s real plus/minus, behind just LeBron James.
His job simply can’t be replicated.