Chris Paul Sets Clippers’ Franchise Record For Assists
MEMPHIS – No NBA player’s averaged more assists per game against the Grizzlies than Chris Paul. That made Memphis as fitting a place as any for Paul to set the Clippers’ all-time mark in the category.
Paul set the Clippers’ franchise record for assists with his eighth of the night early in the third quarter Friday, giving the Clippers a 20-point lead as he found J.J. Redick for a floater, passing Randy Smith for the all-time mark with his 3,499th assist for the franchise.
“It’s definitely cool,” Paul said, “first of all, because Randy Smith is first in everything in the Clippers’ history books.”
Having played nearly 100 more games than any other Clipper in franchise history, that makes sense for Smith, who’s also the team’s all-time leader in points, minutes, field goals and field goals attempted, among his many accolades.
Assists, though, now belong to Paul, who now has the assists record for two franchises, after also accomplishing the feat in New Orleans.
“Did he pass me?” head coach Doc Rivers quipped. “Yeah, it’s awesome. That’s what he is - he’s a true pure point guard, one of the few left in the league. It’s just amazing to watch him play basketball.”
After years together orchestrating the most successful stint in team history, Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan all find themselves atop some sort of all-time list – if not close. Jordan holds the team’s record for rebounds. Griffin, who sits fifth in team history in assists, also moved up the team’s all-time scoring leaderboard to fourth earlier this year.
Griffin said individual accolades aren’t the goal, but he acknowledged the significance and what it says about their longevity together.
“It’s cool to have a group of guys who have been here a long enough time to see guys go up and be the leader in assists of a franchise and things like that,” Griffin said. “Obviously, like I said, not our overall goal, not our end-all, but it’s cool to see stuff like that.”
Paul’s record 3,502 assists with the Clippers happened in just 352 games – more than half the number of games it took Smith and fewer games than anyone in the franchise’s top three in assists.
Paul finished with 27 points, 11 assists and a second straight game with six steals in Friday’s win, setting the assists record on a pass to a player in Redick he so often hits in rhythm.
“I always say about assists, too, I’ve got the easy job,” Paul said. “All I got to do is pass it to somebody. They’re the ones that got to make it. They’ve got to make the shot.”
And when they don’t finish off a crisp pass from Paul, they’ll often acknowledge it. That was no different Friday.
“But it goes both ways,” Paul said. “I’m somebody who pays so much attention to my passes that if I hit J.J. for a shot and the ball’s not where it’s supposed to be, I got a problem with that, because everybody plays a part. J.J.’s a shooter. For him to be great at what he does, I need to put the ball where I need to.”
Now entering his sixth season with the Clippers, Paul’s done that more often than not. And it’s why he now finds himself with more assists as a Clipper than anyone in team history.
“If it was a band, he’s the orchestrator,” said Jamal Crawford, “and he does a phenomenal job at it.”