Chris Paul is a veteran who makes young centers/forwards better when he plays with them. Clint Capela should take a huge leap forward with the help of CP3 this season.
The Chris Paul effect is definitely real. Whenever CP3 plays with young big men, they improve to an All-Star level. Everywhere that he has been, Paul has been incredible in helping out his teammates.
Can that same improvement come for Clint Capela this season? Likely so. First, let’s look at two instances of Chris Paul improving his big men and then at how he can help Capela:
David West was a young, talented power forward when he came into the league in 2003. He was a first-round pick by the New Orleans Hornets but showed hardly anything during his first two years. Cue Chris Paul.
When CP3 was drafted by New Orleans, David West became an absolute beast. He upped his scoring average from 6.2 points per game to 17.1. His field goal percentage also raised up from 44% to 51%. Some of this is due to the minutes West was receiving, but a majority of it was due to the Hornets having a playmaker like Paul.
The Hornets had Baron Davis the first two years of West’s career, but it was CP3 that caused him to break out. That really speaks to Chris Paul’s ability, even as a rookie. West only got better as Paul improved and even saw himself make two All-Star teams.
DeAndre Jordan is one of Chris Paul’s biggest success stories. While much of Jordan’s success can be attributed to his hard work ethic, Chris Paul really made him a well-known center and All-Star.
The fans really started noticing DeAndre whenever Chris Paul came to Los Angeles and “Lob City” was formed with the big three of those two and Blake Griffin. Jordan was a perfect fit in their offense and got so many more open dunks than before. After averaging a little over 100 dunks a year before CP3, that number has raised to well over 200 after the trade for him.
Jordan made his first All-Star appearance last season a year after making the All-NBA First Team. It will be interesting to see how the rest of his post-CP3 career goes.
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Clint Capela is by no means a bad player in this league. In fact, he is one of the best and underrated young centers in the NBA. Still, he can only get better this year after the acquisition of Chris Paul. He should benefit from more open dunks than ever before, even though he was already getting quite a few with James Harden at the point. Chris Paul can also be a mentor to Capela and help him learn.
This year should be an exciting one, Rockets fans! Tomorrow is the first preseason game of the year against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Stay tuned for the preview and recap of that game tomorrow!
*All stats via Basketball-Reference*