Chris Paul is not backing down from the challenge.
Clippers nation is dreaming of having their own banner hanging up at Staples Center, something that doesn’t look like the JV next to what the other team in the building has enshrined. The Clippers are not just dreaming of respectability — that came with Blake Griffin — they are thinking big.
And Paul is good with that, as he said at his introductory press conference (via the Los Angeles Times).
“I’m excited to bring a championship here to L.A. in a Clippers uniform,” Paul said. “Knowing that they’ve never won a championship here, I wanted to be a part of something like that.”
“I know about the history of the franchise and different things like that,” Paul said. “But this decision wasn’t about the past. It was about the present and about the future.”
He said all the right things.
But the pressure is still on the Clippers organization. They need depth to go around their stars now, and particularly depth along the front line. They need to play defense at an elite level, which means DeAndre Jordan has to mature. Vinny Del Negro needs to prove he can coach a team up to that level. And Donald Sterling has to foot the bill and then stay out of the way — and out of the locker room — and not screw this all up.
But this Clippers team suddenly looks like a squad that in a couple years could be a threat to win it all, to put their own banner up in Staples Center. And Chris Paul is not backing away from that.