His arms are more defined and muscular at Clippers' training camp. His face is thinner-looking and his body looks more chiseled.
Those are some of the physical changes to Chris Paul this fall as he takes part in "one of the best camps I've been a part of during my nine-year career."
Paul is also in a new system, and with that, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers has some changes for his All-Star guard as well.
"I've still got the same role, to facilitate," Paul said. "But the coaches want me to be aggressive early, but not too much.
"We've got a lot more ball movement, which is great. We have personnel changes too. We've got a lot of shooters, guys who move well without the ball."
When Paul arrived here two years ago in a trade, the coaching staff under Vinny Del Negro also wanted the point guard to be more aggressive early.
But Paul preferred to probe the defense early, to "take what the defense gave" him, to take the controls late in games.
With this new mandate from Rivers, Paul was asked whether he had to make a mental adjustment to his game.
"Man, I'm going to play," Paul said. "Whatever I have to do to help us win, that's what I'm going to do."
Clippers to play Portland
Rivers will put starters Paul, J.J. Redick, Blake Griffin, Jared Dudley and DeAndre Jordan on the court for their first exhibition game at Portland on Monday night.
And when Rivers puts in his reserves, he wants them to take the "execution from practice onto the floor" against the Trail Blazers
"For this team, I think preseason is really important because it allows us to try to get on the same page," Rivers said.
For the last 29 years, the NBA Finals had a 2-3-2 format for the home and road games. Now the league is considering changing back to the 2-2-1-1-1 system that was used in the Finals before 1985 and currently is used for earlier playoff rounds.
Rivers said he prefers going back to the old format and is hopeful the league's competition committee that recommended the switch will be approved by the Board of Governors during its meeting Oct. 22-23.
Rivers recalled how his Boston Celtics beat the Lakers in Game 6 at home during the 2008 NBA Finals to win the championship, but his Celtics lost Game 7 to the Lakers at Staples Center during the 2010 Finals. Both of those Finals were under the 2-3-2 system.
"I detest the other one, personally," Rivers said. "I thought it was very difficult to beat a team three times in a row. I think it's also really, not unfair because that'd be too strong of a word, but it's tough when you've fought all year and now you've got to go back for Game 6 and 7 on the road. That's a tough format.…I think that's just a very difficult way of playing."
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