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Watching Chris Paul play basketball is an absolute revelation. He sees plays develop before anyone else and plays so perfectly under control at all times that it's astounding when a defender picks off one of his passes or he throws a dart out of bounds.
At times it seems he is playing the game at a different intellectual level than anyone else out on the court and the numbers attest to that.
In his first year with the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul averaged 19.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists while completely altering the culture of the league's most perennially depressing franchise.
Remember, fans in Los Angeles were panicking when the Clippers fell to sixth or seventh in the Western Conference, something that would have brought them elation just a year ago. That's the power of CP3.
Paul staying healthy is imperative because he is the engine that powers an absolutely fascinating team. With hyper-athletes like Blake Griffin (who we'll get to later) and DeAndre Jordan, Paul can seemingly create above-the-rim offense for his team at will. The sheer number of alley-oop and fast-break highlights courtesy of Paul's unselfishness are staggering.
However, the Clippers have several glaring holes, from their lack of defense to the need for veteran leadership. As the heart and soul of this team, Paul has managed to patch together the ballclub and turn them into a championship contender.
The only criticism of Paul is often that he is too unselfish and that with his unheralded shooting ability, the team would be better if Paul looked to fill it up like a Russell Westbrook or Tony Parker. While this may be true sometimes, Paul understands the importance of keeping his teammates engaged for the full 48 minutes.
Another fascinating layer of Paul's game is the way he plays in the clutch. He has cemented himself as a closer thanks to his ability to read a defense and manage the clock to get the best possible possession in a game's waning seconds.
CP3 excels in high-pressure scenarios, and it'll always give you chills to watch him bury an 18-foot fadeaway in overtime like he was taking practice shots in an empty gym.
He's dealt with injury issues in the past and was healthy for the brunt of this season, producing an MVP-caliber year. Watching him transform the Clippers from a doormat to a dominant force has been fascinating, and the NBA should count their blessings that Paul has been largely healthy for this past year.