Over at ESPNLA.com, I took another look at the Chris Paul Bump. How much better does he make his teammates? What will happen when he plays with two of the best shooters he’s had next to him his whole career? Here’s an excerpt — you can read the full article here.
The Chris Paul Bump
For as misguided as the “true point guard” qualifier may be, there is plenty of evidence that suggests Paul positively impacts his teammates’ performance like no one else in the league.
Let’s start on the team level. Last year, with Chris Paul on the floor, the Clippers posted an offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) of 116.5. For the sake of comparison, the Oklahoma City Thunder was the league’s best offense with a rating of 112.4.
Compare Paul’s 116.5 rating with other players on better teams with better coaches, and he still shines. Tony Parker, a popular non-Paul choice for the best point guard throne last year, registered a 110.5 number. Russell Westbrook was at 113.7. Kevin Durant? 114.1.LeBron James? Tied with Paul at 116.5.
To that point, Paul has largely been saddled with average offensive players most of his career, but he’s made nearly every single one of them better.
When they’ve shared the court with Paul over the last two years, Jamal Crawford, Caron Butler, Matt Barnes, Willie Green, Chauncey Billups (11-12) and Randy Foye (11-12) have shot a combined 3.3% higher on 3-pointers than their career averages.
It’s Crawford who might be the best example of Paul’s influence. Without CP3 on the floor last season, Crawford shot just 32.9 percent from behind the arc. But with Paul next to him in the backcourt, his percentage jumped all the way up to 42 percent.
The effect in boosted 3-point percentages shows on the team level as well. In 2011-12, the Clippers shot 34 percent from behind the arc without Paul on the floor. With him on, that number jumped to 36.4.
The numbers were similar in 2012-13, where the Clippers shot 33.9 percent without Paul and 36.3 percent with him.
Location, Location, Location
All assists aren’t created equal.
Paul’s ability to get his teammates the ball in the right spots on the floor is a major reason why his teammates see an up-tick in efficiency when they share the floor with him.
A notorious chucker like Crawford transforming into a highly efficient scoring machine next to Paul is no random occurrence. You can go back and ask Rasual Butler or Marco Belinelli, two players who recorded career highs in 3-point percentage when Paul was with them in New Orleans.
Paul puts his teammates in positions where they can succeed, and those positions tend to be in the most efficient spots on the floor — at the rim and from the 3-point line. Paul’s combined 6.8 assists per game in those two areas bested everyone in the league last year, with Rajon Rondo being the only other point guard to record more than 6 combined assists from those areas.
To read the rest of the article, click here.