Chris Paul attributes most statistics to just playing basketball.
The Clippers’ 10-1 start? He is not excited about that. His league-leading 2.9 steals per game? He’s been jumping passes his whole life. An uptick in rebounds so far this season? The ball must be naturally bouncing his way.
But when it comes to Paul’s early season shooting numbers — which, even for him, are standing out — the 31-year-old point guard may have an explanation.
“My brother sent me a text the other day saying my percentage is up because of my Lasik eye surgery,” Paul said at the Clippers’ practice facility on Wednesday. “I was laughing, but my doctor did the surgery, who was amazing by the way, his other clients he said their percentages actually went up the next season.”
Paul, who had the surgery this summer, is fitting that unofficial trend through 11 games. He is shooting 47.3% from three-point range, nearly 11 percentage points higher than his career average. He has been the league’s most efficient pull-up jump shooter. In a 32-point win over the Nets on Monday, he made eight of 11 shots and canned four of six three-point attempts.
Lasik is often referred to as “laser-eye surgery” and provides an alternative to wearing glasses or contact lenses. Paul, who wears glasses off the court, never wore contacts during games. His family told him he would squint while playing, especially when looking at Clippers Coach Doc Rivers for play calls, but Paul shrugged it off. He avoided doctors’ diagnoses by gaming their evaluation system.
“Line 8 on the chart chart said F-E-L-O-P-Z-D, and Line 9 said B-F-P-E-O-T-C,” Paul said, smirking. “I had it memorized.”
Paul’s dad and brother had the surgery during his rookie season in Oklahoma and his mom wanted him to do the same.
He finally relented this off-season after having surgery on his right hand. Paul, a self-described hypochondriac who plays basketball in front of thousands of people at least 82 times a year, said it was the most “nerve-racking thing” he has ever done. Research has suggested patients have more Lasik surgery after 10 years but he said he will not do it again.
He also hasn’t asked his family whether he is still squinting during games. For now the results are clear, just like his vision.
“I like to think that I have something to do with it,” Paul said when asked if he really believes Lasik is the reason for his hot start. “But it might be. I do see a lot better than I did.”