Chris Paul makes the Los Angeles Clippers a profitable NBA pick. Chris Paul could be out a while with a sprained left thumb. If so, the fade parade starts Thursday night in L.A.
We live in a world of fake news – and fake sports news. In this world, Blake Griffin is believed to be more important to the Los Angeles Clippers than Chris Paul. In the real world, Paul is one of the very best players in the league. When Griffin is injured, and he often is, the Clippers beat the NBA odds like a rented mule. When Paul is out? Trouble. Deep, deep trouble.
That's what the Clippers (29-14 SU, 22-21 ATS) may have to look forward to this week. Paul sprained his left thumb in Monday's win over Oklahoma City; Tuesday's MRI came back negative, so Paul is only considered day-to-day. But every day Paul sits, the Clips will be ripe for the fading – beginning with Thursday's game (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT) against the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves.
Need some data? Happy to oblige. Griffin had his right knee scoped on Dec. 20 and isn't due back for at least another week, maybe more. Paul has been in and out of the lineup since. Here's how Los Angeles has performed during this stretch:
- With Paul: 7-1 SU, 6-2 ATS
- Without Paul: 2-5 SU, 3-4 ATS
It is what it is. The Clippers have thankfully given Raymond Felton (-0.1 BPM) more of the reserve minutes at point guard while playing Austin Rivers (-0.9 BPM) more at shooting guard. This maximizes the skills of both gentlemen while hiding some of their flaws. But they still can't hold a candle to Paul (+10.4 BPM) at either end of the court. The drop-off isn't nearly as severe between Griffin (+3.9 BPM) and backup big Marreese Speights (+2.6 BPM).
Make your Clippers NBA picks accordingly, and may the sphere be with you.