Friday, April 17, 2015

Chris Paul: The Time is Now (NBA)

The 2015 NBA Playoffs will be one of the most defining postseason years for Chris Paul. He's probably the only player with more to gain and even more to lose. Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Kobe Bryant missed the playoffs, but their absence doesn't take away from what they've contributed to the game. Although Wade and Bryant have rings, Carmelo is still in his grace period with New York as he returns from his surgery.

"Clippers basketball is at a level many people my age have never seen. Seriously, never."
As for Chris Paul, the time is now to distinguish himself among the greats who win, instead of those who don’t. Paul’s legacy hangs before his eyes as he presses toward the NBA Finals with the Los Angeles Clippers. His singular, extraordinary career offers no protection from a legacy of "what-ifs". Only what he does from this point forward will matter. From the nature of Paul's mature, "floor general" attitude, it seems his interest in individual awards has long dissipated.

The pain from 2014’s untimely playoff exit at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder still burns. This year’s Clippers team has a decidedly more serious edge. The team has been successful in allowing the title of "Lob City" to slowly wither away. Also, this season has been free of last year’s Donald Sterling drama.

Clippers basketball is at a level many people my age have never seen. Seriously, never. The focus of the 2015 Clippers can mainly be attributed to the intensity and drive of Chris Paul. We are all too familiar with the rage of Russell Westbrook and Kobe Bryant, but Chris Paul's rage is somewhat different.
aul is one of the few players in the game who can offer empathy, as well as ferocity on the court. In order to win championships, you need players like this. Especially players who hold the position of the floor general.

This past March, Paul’s fire scorched Deandre Jordan several minutes later in a moment that will live in Vine forever. With the score tied at 87 (against the Portland Trailblazers) and 1.7 seconds remaining on the shot clock—2.8 on the game clock—Paul got off a shot, and Jordan grabbed the rebound under the basket with a second to spare. Jordan thought the game buzzer had sounded, sending the teams to overtime, so he didn’t shoot the ball.


He was wrong. Paul was livid.

"Shoot the ------- ball!" Paul screamed, flailing as he jumped up and down. On the way back to the huddle, Paul shouted at Jordan, who had no response. After the game, Paul clarified that he was angered about the situation, not towards Deandre Jordan.
"The crowd roared, but come on, Chris Paul has always performed on this level."
With a captain such as Paul on your team, there is no excuse but to enjoy playing with this guy. I am a Chris Paul fan and will gladly say he's been my favorite player since his rookie year in the NBA. If he ever wins a championship, his ring will be the most deserved for a player of his skill and character. Chris Paul had an admirable season, but it was overshadowed by Curry, Harden, and Westbrook (which is understandable).

I can also point out that Chris Paul's elite play has become the norm for spectators everywhere. Recently, Paul performed a dribble move—a one-handed fake bounce pass tossed several feet in front that spins back to him. The crowd roared, but come on, Chris Paul has always performed on this level.

Los Angeles Clippers v New Jersey Nets

I'm sure Paul doesn't fret over the MVP Award noise. His eyes are focused on something greater. Something which people will always remember when they bring up the Los Angeles Clippers during Paul's era. A championship.

The time is now for Chris Paul and the Clippers. They'll have their hands full against the seasoned, San Antonio Spurs.

'Til next time.

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