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While the Clippers 2012-13 season did not end how many anticipated, there were still a number of standout individual performers from what is widely considered the most historic season in franchise history. Over the course of the next 10 days, Clippers.com will pass out awards in line with the NBA’s annual end-of-season hardware, including a couple of special editions.

Clutch.

The word is overused and, frankly, over-defined. Whether it is segments of games, making or missing shots, passing or shooting when the game is on the line or simply making the right basketball play, there are so many factors that enter into what separates a player when the game is on the line that the whole idea of who is clutch and who is not gets muddied.

However, no matter how the word is defined or used, Chris Paul encompasses everything clutch. In two seasons with the Clippers his body of work has proven it. He helps win games that seem unwinnable, walks with the swagger of a boxer and the mind of a coach. He makes the right play, nearly every time. And, if you haven’t noticed, he also makes big-time shots.

 

Paul’s ability to change games, and win them when it counts, is why he was the Clippers’ Most Valuable Player in 2012-13.

He led the league in steals per game (2.41) and assist-to-turnover ratio (4.26) and was second in assists (9.7). He set the tone for the Clippers early and late. When Paul and fellow superstar Blake Griffin were at their best the team was practically unbeatable, which was often, as evidenced by a 56-win regular season, a total that surpassed the most in franchise history by seven.

Paul missed 12 games from mid-January to mid-February with a bruised kneecap and the Clippers went 6-6. In games that Paul and Griffin started the team had a winning percentage of .714, which would have been good for No. 3 in the NBA behind the Heat and Thunder.

In January, first-year Orlando Magic head coach and former NBA point guard Jacque Vaughn said, ““He’s a born leader. You just see it. It’s innate. He was born with it, the ability to push guys and push himself. He has a standard that he keeps for himself and he pushes his guys to that standard.”

Sometimes that standard can be overbearing, sometimes tough to deal with. But there’s no question Paul makes every one of his teammates better.

It’s the reason why Vinny Del Negro often referred to Paul as a “general” and similarly why so many players gravitated to the Clippers in the offseason. Matt Barnes, who had a career season playing with Paul, said the point guard was one of his primary recruiters last summer and Grant Hill, who retired after 19 NBA seasons Saturday, “admired” and “respected” Paul from afar even before joining forces with him.

THE CREDENTIALS

All-NBA First Team, All-Defensive First Team, All-Star Starter, All-Star Game MVP, Western Conference Player of the Month for December

 

G

MPG

RPG

SPG

APG

TPG

FG%

3P%

FT%

PPG

70

33.4

3.7

2.41

9.7

2.3

.481

.328

.890

16.9

THE FAN VOICE

Clippers fans were asked to name their MVP for the 2012-13 season via Twitter. Here are some of their responses, including a few outside the box thinkers:

Chris Paul

Jamal Crawford

Matt Barnes

Numerous