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Lack of trade interest in Chris Paul blessing in disguise for Thunder

Michael Gutierrez
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder have made a plethora of moves in the span of just three weeks. One of them was trading for Chris Paul. Many people speculated that the Thunder would trade CP3, but that is not the case anymore.

As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Thunder plan to keep Chris Paul for at least the start of the 2019-2020 season.

Silver lining: Keeping Paul may not have been what Oklahoma City wanted to do initially. Yet it may end up working out for the best.

  • Proven commodity: The All-Star point guard will bring his veteran leadership to a team that has lost all direction.
  • Mentor: Paul will be an asset to up and coming star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who showed flashes of brilliance in the first round of the playoffs.
  • Pick-and-roll: CP3 will also go hand in hand with Steven Adams, who excels in the pick-and-roll.
  • Fighting chance: Paul will help the Thunder compete for a shot in the tough western conference.

CP3 Effectiveness: Everyone thinks that Chris Paul is “washed,” but he still has a lot to offer and is more than serviceable in the NBA. If Chris Paul’s hamstring didn’t pop in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals two seasons ago, we would be possibly calling him an NBA champion. So, Paul is still a player that can make other around him better, and also he can still create his own shot.

  • Freedom: Chris Paul will have freedom to do as he pleases in the offense. Now that he is the main ball handler and scorer for the Thunder, look for Paul to elevate his game.
  • Mid range game: Even though the NBA is a three-point-shooting league, Paul still uses his mid range game to his advantage. He shot 47% from just inside the three-point line.
  • Play making: Paul is still one of the best floor generals in the NBA. He has the ability to make plays for others. And he is still capable of creating his own shot. Paul ranked 7th in isolation plays last season at 28.8%.

Once Chris Paul was added to the Houston Rockets, he knew that he would have to take a back seat to James Harden. And that is one reason why people forget that Chris Paul is still capable of playing at an All-star level.

Paul deferred to Harden the majority of his time spent in Houston because Harden is such a ball-dominant player. But now that Chris Paul will be the sole leader of the team and number one option, look forward to seeing the Lob City version of CP3.

Coaching help: Head coach Billy Donovan will now have the pleasure of having a point guard that is actually smart. Chris Paul has one of the best basketball IQ’s in the NBA. And he will essentially be an extension of a coach out on the floor. Which will relieve some of the pressure off of Billy Donovan.

  • Schematics: Chris Paul has been coached by the likes of Doc Rivers and Mike D’Antoni. The significance behind this is that CP3 can help Donovan with the schemes dealing with the offense.
  • Competitiveness: Paul will be the leader of the team, and will bring a chippy attitude as well to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
  • Playoff hopes: With Paul and Donovan on the same page could get the Thunder in the playoffs at least as an 8 seed.

The final word: Although the initial intentions were to flip Chris Paul, the Thunder ultimately did not like any trade offers. But they are getting a guard that is still very competitive and will want to compete for a playoff spot. The thought of having yet another All-star guard on the Oklahoma City Thunder is a win for the organization.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a bright future with all of the picks they acquired this summer. And yet Sam Presti still ended up with a All-star point guard to stay competitive in the NBA.