Before the season gets started, three of our writers previewed the season for the Clippers from an individual standpoint. Let’s see what Breene Murphy, Jordan Heimer and D.J. Foster have to say.
1. Which player is more likely to win the MVP award: Blake Griffin or Chris Paul?
Breene Murphy, ClipperBlog: Chris Paul. His passing will turn DeAndre Jordan into a legitimate force, he’ll make Blake even better, and his brilliance freestyling at the point will compensate for Vinny’s tactical shortcomings.
Jordan Heimer, ClipperBlog: Chris Paul. If the Clips become instant contenders, Paul will get the lion’s share of the credit. Last year’s team was hamstrung by uninspired play-calling, an inability to execute in the clutch, and a massive amount of turnovers. Paul’s arrival solves all three problems.
D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Paul. Usually when considering raw numbers versus “importance” voters side towards the latter. Blake Griffin is capable of putting up numbers similar to Kevin Garnett’s MVP season (24-14-5), but if the Clippers finish as one of the best teams in the West, Paul would get the credit and the hardware.
2. Fact or Fiction: DeAndre Jordan will average at least 10 points and 10 rebounds per game this season.
Breene Murhpy, ClipperBlog: Simply based on his per-36 minute stats, he projects to do so. I think he’ll see a bigger boost in points, because of Chris Paul finding DeAndre’s favorite spot: 2 feet from the rim and out of everyone else’s reach. Where I’d rather see dramatic improvement and change from DeAndre is controlling blocked shots and shooting his free throws underhanded.
Jordan Heimer, ClipperBlog: Fact. One of the takeaways from the compressed preseason was how easy many of the alley-oops seemed. Baron Davis lobs were often spectacular, but came with a high a degree of difficulty, requiring serious aerial contortions from Blake or DeAndre. Chris Paul throws his passes right there, to that one spot between the rim and the ceiling where only DJ and Blake can go. Pencil in DeAndre for 14 and 11.
D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Fact. Per-36 minutes, Jordan has averaged a double-double in each of his three seasons…but also 4.6 fouls. With no Kaman, no backup big man and no other shot-blocker on the roster, Jordan has to find a way to stay out of foul trouble this year.
3. Who will score more points per game this season: Caron Butler or Chauncey Billups?
Breene Murphy, ClipperBlog: I know Caron doesn’t like to pass, but I think Chauncey will score more. Playing alongside Chris Paul will free up Chauncey for more open threes than he’ll have ever seen. Chauncey could lead the league in three point shooting this year. Raindrops!
Jordan Heimer, ClipperBlog: Per game? I don’t know. But total? It has to be Chauncey. In the last decade, Chauncey Billups has never played fewer than 72 games; Caron Butler has averaged 58 games over the last five seasons. I hope they both stay healthy, but chances are that we see Caron Butler on the bench in a suit at some point.
D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Billups, but barely. The main difference is their usual position on the floor. Billups will typically be stationed one pass away from Paul on the wing – Butler will be two passes away in the corner. Neither will be bashful once the ball comes their way.
Twitter: @breenemurphy, @fosterdj, @jordanheimer