The Los Angeles Clippers have recently made a significant move for their franchise in inking Doc Rivers to a three-year deal. Now, not only will the team have a legitimate Head Coach running the club, but they have instantly increased their chances to re-sign megastar point guard Chris Paul. The six-time All-Star clearly expressed his acquiescence for Doc’s hiring and in fact he hinted that it is a big factor towards his stay in the City of Angels. But how can Doc Rivers affect Paul’s numbers and his fantasy rankings?
First off, we can all imagine what an impact Rivers will have to the Clippers as a group. His defensive mentality, the trust he earns from his players and his championship experience all add up to his unquestionable coaching skills. There is no doubt that he is an upgrade from former coach Vinny Del Negro and at the very least the expectations are high for him.
Assuming Paul stays with the Clips, he can also greatly benefit from Rivers’s presence. Paul was ranked among the top five players in several fantasy basketball lists last season. His numbers justify why. 16.9 points per game, 9.7 assists, a league-leading 2.4 steals, 48.1 percent shooting from the field, 32.8 from three-point range and 88.5 percent from the free-throw line. Those numbers are impressive for sure. That’s the reason why Paul was the best point guard in fantasy rankings during the previous season after all. However, under Rivers, these stats can grow even bigger. Let’s examine why.
As Doc implements his tough defensive system, and lets keep in mind that the Clippers do have the players to support it, Paul can record even more steals than last season. As he’ll play defense on the perimeter, under the new defense he’ll have several more chances to disrupt the passing lanes and immediately start the break.
That of course will lead the athletic guard to more breakaway easy hoops, increasing both his points per game and his field goal percentage. Certainly Paul is great finishing in traffic, with difficult layups or runners, but would he say no to easy transition hoops? Obviously not.
Also, former coach Del Negro ran the offensive system called “Chris Paul”. He just left Paul decide what the best option for the team was. Surely CP3 is a general on the floor, an on-court coach. Nonetheless, getting him open at his comfortable zones would make things way easier. That could mean setting him up for the open three-pointer, or running a clever system that will give him an easy mid-range shot or a layup. His 3P percentage, FG percentage, points and assists could benefit from all the above. As he’ll get more open shots, he can also earn more chances from the charity stripe, but that of course doesn’t mean he’ll achieve a better FT percentage.
In general, Paul had a terrific season in 2012-2013. But now, under Rivers and if he decides to stay in LA, his fantasy rankings can receive a significant boost.