Chris Paul and the Clippers have never made a Conference Finals.Thursday night the Los Angeles Clippers were eliminated by the Thunder. In nine career seasons, Chris Paul has never made a Conference Finals. It will be a unique offseason for Paul and the entire team dealing with uncertainty in regards to the owner of the franchise.
The good news is that their talented nucleus is already signed through next season.
CP3 Heads Home Early
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Chris Paul’s seven All-Star appearances are tied for the fifth-most all-time for any player before appearing in their first Conference Finals.
Playoff Win Pct Among Notable Point Guards
Chris Paul has often been compared to some of the great point guards in NBA history. However his playoff track record doesn’t add up.
He has a postseason win percentage of .415 (22 wins, 31 losses). That number is significantly lower than Hall of Fame point guards Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson and John Stockton.
Speaking of great point guards, Paul is also one of seven players in NBA history to have 6,000 assists through their first nine seasons, according to Elias. Of those players, Paul is the only one not to reach the Conference Finals over that time span.
Looking Forward to Next Season
The current nucleus of the Clippers will still be under contract in the 2014-15 season.
Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes were the five-man unit that played the most minutes together for the Clippers in the postseason. All five of them will be back next season (barring a trade).
Looking towards free agency, the Clippers have $66.3 million dollars worth of guaranteed contracts on the books next season. Darren Collison, Danny Granger and Glen Davis all have player options while Ryan Hollins and Hedo Turkoglu are unrestricted free agents.
With the luxury tax projected to climb to $77 million next season, the Clippers best free agency tool this offseason will likely be the non-taxpayer mid-level exception (can sign any free agent to a contract with a starting salary up to $5.3M)
Upcoming Draft Picks
The Clippers currently hold only the 28th overall draft pick in the 2014 draft, as their second round pick was traded to the San Antonio Spurs. Also, their 2015 first round draft pick will be sent to the Boston Celtics as compensation for acquiring Doc Rivers.
The Clippers in this draft may want to emulate the Spurs, who took Tony Parker in 2001 and Tiago Splitter in 2007 with the 28th pick. Some other notable players drafted 28th overall are Norris Cole, Leandro Barbosa, Ian Mahinmi and Greivis Vasquez.