At one point, or maybe multiple, Chris Paul thought he was moving east to join the New York Knicks. It never happened. Instead, he wound up going west and linked up with Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers. Paul describes the whole situation as a roller coaster, but says he feels much more comfortable now.
Paul entered today averaging 18.5 points, nine assists and more than two steals per game for the Clippers, who have a two-game lead on the crosstown Lakers, so life is pretty good.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss what it was like for Paul to get to know a whole new team, why it feels like a college team, the emotions he went through when finding a new landing spot, if it’s an advantage to have a young team, the Jeremy Lin story and, for Griffin, what it’s been like playing with Paul.
What was it like getting to know a whole new team?:
“It’s a combination of both [me getting to know them and them getting to know me]. I think things couldn’t have went smoother. Luckily, I knew some of the guys already, but one thing that’s a common bond between all of us is the game of basketball, obviously. I tell people all the time that this is a special situation here with the Clippers because this team is like a college team.”
What do you mean?:
“It’s because when you’re in college you spend so much time together, in the classroom, travelling, on the road, things like that. When you first come into the NBA, it’s a little bit different because it’s like, after practice, everybody goes their separate ways. Here, with our team, we’re like a college team in that we’re always doing things together.”
Take us through the run of emotions when you think you’re going to the Clippers to where we are now:
“Oh man, emotionally, it was a roller coaster then. Now I’m so much more comfortable. The organization has been unbelievable since Day One. My teammates are great, L.A. has been great and best of all, we’ve been winning a few basketball games here and there.”
Do you think it’s an advantage that you have a young team?:
“We’re not as young as you think we are. … I think it can help. I definitely think it can help. I think what helps too is our training staff. That’s something that goes unnoticed a lot of times, but our training staff has been unbelievable in making sure our bodies are recovered. We’re doing things this morning. I’m telling you, if you were here with our team, man, we’d have that knee ready to go here in just a couple more weeks.”
Have you got caught up in Linsanity?:
“I wouldn’t say caught up in it, but I definitely respect what he’s done. I don’t care what people say about who he’s playing against or this and that. Anytime you do what he’s done in those amount of games in this league, against the best players in the world, you’re doing a great job.”
At what point do players like you consider him legit?:
“I haven’t had the opportunity to sit and watch a full game. I’ve seen the highlights and things like that, but it’s all about, as a point guard, is all about controlling your team and making sure your team comes with the right energy. You see the highlights and you see his teammates cheering for him … and that’s what it’s all about. They feel like, going into every game, they have an opportunity to win, and that’s all you want.”
Blake Griffin joins the end of the call. Is Chris keeping you happy?:
“He is. He’s doing a great job and we’re having fun as a team and growing each day. So it’s been fun. It’s been a lot more fun than in the past.”
How do you replace Chauncey Billups?:
“You don’t really, but we have guys that are very capable of stepping up and filling in that void. … We’re happy about who we’ve got.”