Has there been anybody better in the game of basketball this year than Chris Paul? Be honest, because it’s easy to disagree immediately if you’re a fan of LeBron James. Honestly, though, Paul is off to a career year and has averaged 19 points, 12.2 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 2.4 steals and is shooting the ball at nearly 46 percent from the field. He’s the reason the Los Angeles Clippers lead the league in assists, no doubt.
Paul leads the team with a PER of 27.9 at the moment, which is quite impressive. For those of you who may not understand that rating, I’ll put it simply: Paul has been one of the most efficient players in the game this year.
Though he’s been the main reason for Los Angeles’ success this season, he cannot do it all. He’s needed help from guys like Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick who are also having great seasons of their own. The exciting post play of both Griffin and DeAndre Jordan is always fun to watch and keeps the game interesting, but what are the Clippers missing then?
The answer lies within the play of their wings, particularly the forwards Jared Dudley and Matt Barnes. While both were thought to be very good players to have on the depth chart and fill out the roster, they have been disappointing to say the least. Dudley’s PER sits at an unimpressive 8.1 and Barnes isn’t too much better at 10.6.
In a combined 47 minutes per game, these two are only giving the Clips 14.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals. Remember — that’s combined. Dudley’s been the better shooter overall where Barnes is sitting at 34 percent from the field, but Dudley is averaging seven more minutes and not doing much in that extra time on the floor.
It just doesn’t seem like they’ve been into the offense as much as they should be, or at least contributing in a more efficient manner. Paul obviously runs the offense, but these guys have to do their part as well. Opponents, thus far, haven’t had to worry about the perimeter forward play hurting them when these two are on the floor.
Both Barnes and Dudley have to be better, plain and simple. They’ve got to get more aggressive on both ends of the floor and help their team out by making just a few more plays per game. They don’t need to be heroes by any means, but rounding out their efficiency in all aspects is a must.