Chris Paul knows how to say all the right things, but don't confuse his latest comments with empty gestures and window dressing. This is something the Los Angeles Clippers needed to hear—Blake Griffin chief among them (via ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne):
"Blake is one of those guys where his age has nothing to do with anything," Paul said in a phone interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com on Aug. 6. "People may say he's a young guy, but he's been special in this league, he's been an All-Star. His voice carries a lot of weight, and I think our team will definitely go as Blake goes."
It's a thought that's as terrifying as it is true, grounded in two underwhelming playoff appearances that Clippers fans would like to partially forget. Though 2012-13 was the first time in franchise history this club has won more than 50 games, it was all the harsher a reminder that Los Angeles still has a long way to go.
To some minds, having Doc Rivers run the show may be good enough. He has the championship pedigree and zealous commitment to defense LA needs to join the elite ranks of Western Conference contenders. He has a history of coaching the kind of larger-than-life personalities he's inheriting in Paul and Griffin, too.
This summer's roster reformatting could also further the cause. There's no doubt J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley's catch-and-shoot credibility will make CP3's life easier (as will Darren Collison's ability to relieve him off the bench).
For all the front office's efforts, though, this isn't just a team that will go as Blake goes—it's a team that goes as he and Paul go together. And together, they still have some work to do.