Los Angeles Clippers: Is Chris Paul Worthy Of His ‘Leader’ Title?


Considering limited success over the course of his career, is Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul worthy of the title ‘leader’

More than likely it has happened in the past, maybe I didn’t see it or hear it but I know someone had to speak up about it.

Why does it seem that Chris Paul gets a pass? Don’t get me wrong, he is one heck of a player but I’ve always had doubts about his leadership skills. Stats-wise, he is great — a career 20-10 on a nightly basis, but it takes more than numbers to be considered a winner.

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Paul has been to the playoffs seven times in his career, but has never made it to the Conference Finals. I know it takes a team to win but this is the same flack we give Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and every other superstar, yet still the majority seem to leave Paul off this list. His New Orleans days were filled with fresh, young and athletic players like Tyson Chandler and David West, but they couldn’t get over that hump. His big chance for the spotlight was to come when he was traded to Los Angeles Lakers, but the NBA vetoed that trade, which found him landing with the Clippers instead.

He was then teamed with a younger group of high risers, shooters and a roster full of players that wanted to prove their worth. This was the perfect fit for a top-tier point guard. With Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick and DeAndre Jordan, each player brought a different dimension to the team. Once the playoff failures began, though, they placed the blame on head coach Vinny Del Negro and never looked twice at Paul.

Why would they? He was considered the best at his position, but someone had to be blamed, right? Paul’s career has seen him tally up over 12,000 points, 6,000 assists and 1,500 steals and, yet, he still has a good six years or so left in him, but will ultimately be defined by the wins and losses. If this Los Angeles Clippers team can’t reach at least a Conference Finals this upcoming season, then management must begin to think hard about making changes to the roster and it has to start with Paul.

He will make 20-plus million for the next two years and then a player option after that. If the disappointment continues what options are there?

He is not in the Deron Williams group, where his contract will define him, but there are other point guards in the NBA that can and have done what he has on a cheaper scale — and have tasted the Finals. If winning is all it comes down to, then Paul has shown that he can’t get it done. With Griffin and now Jordan stepping into all-star roles, some of the pressure to lead and win has been taken off Paul but, make no mistake, the Clippers will only go as far as Paul leads them.

On paper, they have talent. Name a group that has a better rotation of stars. Paul, Griffin, Jordan, Redick and now with offseason moves you throw in Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith — this team is loaded, and let’s not forget the ultimate weapon off the bench in Jamal Crawford.

Here are the naysayers: Kobe doesn’t pass, but yet he has five rings. LeBron can’t win, but somehow he managed to make six trips to the Finals, winning two. Even Melo made a rare appearance in the Western Conference Finals, while with the Nuggets.

I’m not here to knock his game, but hearing the backlash that other stars get for not taking their team further, while Paul’s name rarely gets mentioned with those guys is a disgrace. He is paid like a leader, conducts himself like a leader, yet has not truly led his teams anywhere.

At what point do we begin to hold him accountable for his failures?

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