6 Reasons Why 2012-13 Will Be Chris Paul's Best Season Ever

Oren FriedmanCorrespondent IISeptember 24, 2012

6 Reasons Why 2012-13 Will Be Chris Paul's Best Season Ever

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    Coming off of a second-round sweep to the San Antonio Spurs, Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers are reloaded and ready for the 2012-13 NBA season.

    CP3 is the engine that keeps Lob City running, and this season could shape out to be the best in his already incredible seven-year career.

    The runner-up MVP in 2007-08 and two-time All-NBA first teamer, Paul has already taken the Clippers from consistent laughingstock to Western Conference contender.

    It will take some big games from his teammates, but 2012-13 could be the year Paul and co. make the jump to elite status. 

    Here are six reasons why Chris Paul will have his best season ever in 2012-13.

Supporting Cast

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    Never in his career has Chris Paul played on a team so loaded with talent.

    Top to bottom, the Clippers are stacked. A lot of the credit goes to Paul, who made a summer luring players like Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes to the LAC.

    From the summer acquisitions of Lamar Odom to Grant Hill, this Clippers team is the most versatile in the franchise's history.

    Given the strength of their roster, the Clippers should always have a five-man rotation capable of playing at a high level.

    Don't be surprised to see the Clips light it up on offense and retain their status as one of the most efficient offenses in the game this season.

    With so many weapons at his disposal, Paul should make the best of his loaded roster in 2012-13.

Competitive Nature

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    This summer's events will surely amplify Paul's desire to win that ever-elusive first championship.

    In the span of just a few months, CP3 saw his good friend LeBron James win his first title with the Miami Heat, took home his second Olympic gold medal in London and saw the down-and-out Lakers acquire both Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.

    Paul's competitiveness is through the roof, and he is sure to remember this summer's events when he laces up for action against the Memphis Grizzlies on opening night.

    Back in December when Paul was acquired by the Clippers, CP3 commented on his desire to win (via ESPN.com):

    I'm crazy competitive, he said. I think that's what makes me the player that I am. I just have to compete, so knowing that they never won a championship here I wanted to be a part of something like that. ... I want to see those Clippers T-shirts around town. I want to see everybody filing into Staples Center to see us play and at the end of the day I want to win here.

    With another offseason under his belt, look for Paul to come back hungrier than ever.

Comfort Level

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    In a lockout-shortened season and an abridged preseason, it seemed like the Clippers were always putting things together on the fly.

    Last season saw the Clips acquire Paul just before the start of the regular season, with no semblance of a full training camp to get him adjusted to life on his new team.

    Once the season began, the front office made moves for Reggie Evans, Kenyon Martin and Nick Young, all the while dealing with a season-ending injury to backcourt crutch Chauncey Billups and the rehabilitation of young guard Eric Bledsoe.

    Although the Clippers made significant roster upgrades this summer, they will still get the benefit of a full training camp and preseason before the regular season begins.

    Paul's incredible playmaking skills should result in strong team chemistry by the time opening night comes around.

Blake Griffin's Third Year Jump

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    Heading into his third NBA season, All-Star forward Blake Griffin is looking to make the jump from electrifying young gun to bona fide superstar.

    Recent history suggests that a player's third year is crucial in predicting the trajectory of his development.

    From his second to his third season, former Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant saw his scoring production improve nearly five points from 25.3 PPG to 30.1 RPG. His PER jumped significantly in between those two seasons from 20.8 to 26.2.

    Forward Chris Bosh's development was much of the same. 

    In between his second and third season, Bosh saw his shooting efficiency increase from 47.1 percent to 50.5 percent, while his scoring output jumped from 16.8 PPG to 22.5 PPG. Simultaneously, his PER improved nearly six points from 17.5 to 23.2.

    At this stage in his career, Blake Griffin is no Durant or Bosh, but his early numbers are encouraging.

    Playing alongside Paul will only benefit Griffin's development. If BG can make the jump into the NBA's upper echelon, then Paul and co. will have a far easier time racking up wins in 2012-13.

    Taking some pressure off the Clips' dominant point guard will improve the team as a whole, and only increase the potency of a Paul-Griffin combo this season.

Contract Year

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    He is approaching a contract year, and Chris Paul simply cannot afford to have a subpar season.

    Unless serious deficiencies in his game manifest themselves, Paul should expect a maximum-contract extension offer from the Clippers next offseason.

    Regardless of where they decide to sign once they become free agents, big game players like Paul have a habit of posting incredible numbers in their contract years.

    In the final season of his contract in 2009-10, Heat guard Dwyane Wade put up a staggering 26.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 5.6 APG.

    Just before his infamous "Decision," the 2009-10 regular season MVP LeBron James had arguably his best season ever, averaging 29.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 8.6 APG for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Look for Paul to fall in line with his fellow superstars and put up stellar numbers in 2012-13.

Gold Standard

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    He won his second Olympic gold medal in London this summer, so Paul's patience for a ring is waning.

    Seeing the dominance that Team USA exhibited over the rest of the world will only magnify Paul's desire to win in the NBA.

    He played alongside future Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant and LeBron James which pushed Paul to become a leader for Team USA en route to their repeat gold performance.

    Heading into 2012-13, Paul will intend to capitalize on the high that he experienced in London and take Lob City to the next level.

    The season after he won gold in Beijing, Paul had one of his best seasons ever.

    More experienced and tenured this time around, expect Paul to be dominant for the Clips in 2012-13.