With the Clippers slumping, there’s been a lot of talk recently about whether or not Chris Paul needs to be more aggressive early in games. Paul has an aggressive switch, which we all believe he’ll turn on in the playoffs and which he shows glimpses of late in games. Now with the Clippers reeling, should he be more aggressive early in games?
The above chart is a linear regression showing the correlation between how aggressive Chris Paul is in the first half and the Clippers’ points per possession for the game (To measure “aggressiveness,” I’m using shots within 9-feet of the basket and fouls drawn per 100 team possessions. It’s inexact, but should provide a glimpse). As you can see, there is likely no correlation between Paul’s early aggressiveness and the Clippers production on offense. In fact, the line is sloping slightly downward showing a miniscule trend where the Clippers actually score a little better when Paul is less aggressive in the first half. This correlation is much too small to suggest Paul should attack less in first halves, however.
It seems a sure bet Paul will turn it on all the time once the playoffs start, given his track record. For now, let’s let Chris Paul manage the game and rest up for when it is critical.