May 3, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (3) walks off the court after being ejected during the fourth quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies in game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at FedEx Forum. The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 118-105. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Debate: Can the Clippers Make the Playoffs Without Chris Paul?

Before Chris Paul entered the scene, the Los Angeles Clippers weren’t a great basketball team. With Vinny Del Negro at head coach, he wasn’t running the team very well. Blake Griffin was just a rookie, but life was beginning to come to Los Angeles. It was no surprise that once Paul was traded, the fans would regain hope, and they had good reason to. The Clippers have a solid roster, good bench players, and a great point guard, but can they make the playoffs with only two of those three?

When Paul was injured this season with a knee contusion, the Clippers didn’t play terribly without him at 6-6. This is right at .500 without an elite point guard that virtually runs the team. The Clippers depth, along with a young talent in Eric Bledsoe, may  be just enough to keep them in contention. In the Western Conference, however, a 41-41 record is certainly not good enough to make the playoffs. The Dallas Mavericks finished with that record in the 2012-2013 season, and finished 10th place in the standings. In the Eastern Conference, the Mavericks would have been the 8th seed, and actually would have had a chance to beat the Miami Heat.

With that being said, the Clippers will obviously find themselves in some trouble without Paul, as Bledsoe is nothing like him, but the coaching is also a huge factor. When Griffin is 100 percent he’s one of the best power forwards in the league. If the Clippers continue to work on him, he may be able to lead the franchise to some wins. Paul is always the x-factor and would the championship piece that Clippers are in need of. Sure, they’ve had him these past two seasons, but it takes longer than that for chemistry to really grow. Del Negro is now out as the head coach, and the Clippers are obviously looking for a replacement. Who knows? Maybe they’ll land someone like Stan Van Gundy who’ll get it right.

The Clippers are a deep basketball team, and have a chance to make the playoffs next year, no matter the destination of Chris Paul. This is all speculation, but Bledsoe could really break out. Comment below your opinions.

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