As the Clippers look to nail down their team’s “identity” heading into the season, Chris Paul’s expectations can be pared down to four words: Execute, defend, run, rebound.
The veteran point guard knows his vision isn’t all that exciting.
“It sounds cliche because I’m sure that’s probably what 29 [other] teams are saying,” Paul said, laughing, at the Clippers practice facility in Playa Vista on Monday. “But at the end of the day it’s basketball, it ain’t like we are trying to make sure our special teams...[are making] sure that we get a lot of interceptions and stuff like that. It’s basketball.”
The Clippers open their six-game exhibition season against the Warriors at Oracle Arena on Tuesday night.
The Warriors, after signing star forward Kevin Durant in the off-season, could very likely execute, defend, run and rebound better than any team in the NBA. Golden State is the heavy betting favorite to win the NBA title this season now that Durant has joined Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to form a “super team.”
That must give this exhibition opener some extra meaning for the Clippers, a team looking to compete with the Warriors atop the Western Conference?
“I’m sure it’d be a good story, but no,” Paul said. “No, because we say game in and game out it’s about us... so no matter who we play against we want to make sure that we’re trying to execute our offense and defense as well as possible.”
But isn’t Paul particularly excited to see how the Warriors look after a summer of hype?
“Man, I’m interested in everything. Everybody, you know?” Paul said. “Obviously I saw a bunch of the games, [Oklahoma City] is on now, right? They’re in Spain. I’d be watching right now if I wasn’t here.”
The Clippers regularly play the Warriors in the preseason given the teams’ proximity to one another.
Paul is excited to see how the tweaks his team made in training camp translate to live action. He’s also ready for the chance to go up and down the court without Clippers Coach Doc Rivers blowing his whistle to point something out, and for the rotation to materialize in the coming weeks.
“I think for us what I want to see is the things that we’ve done in camp, the little things that we’ve implemented into our offense and our defense,” Paul said about Tuesday’s exhibition.
“Just see how we’ve come together, you know, to see it, and see if it has some structure to it.”
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