Chris Paul Crunch-Time Conundrum

Chris Paul is but one reason the Hornets have failed to execute down the stretch

With all the recent bickering about what’s going on with the Hornets many fans are continuing to outlay their frustrations at Chris Paul and his inability to “step-up” in the recent crunch time minutes. I am one to be particularly disappointed with Paul but it’s because I know (and we know) that he’s capable of so much more.

When ESPN is talking about Russel Westbrook stepping up in the last 4 minutes it pains us because we know it should be Chris they are talking about. That instance of late game failure on the Hornets part was due to three things:

  1. Coaching
  2. Lead-Player Execution/Leadership (Chris Paul and David West)
  3. Role Player Execution

Each contributed to the failure of the team but today we’re going to talk about Chris Paul as he has been a hot topic in recent debates. Hornets247 does a great job of outlining the statistics for all to see how Paul does in crunch time. He’s doing a good job rebounding and passing in crunch time but not scoring and that’s where our problem lies.

Watching the runner-up to MVP has been a blessing in itself. His competitve drive cannot be questioned nor can his desire to constantly improve himself and his team-mates. Chris Paul is one of a kind he possesses the skills and personality necessary to put your team in a position to win every night.

The thing is though, no one is questioning that. No one is questioning whether or not he switches it off because that is an act of falicy.

What we are questioning is the decisions made by the team and by Paul himself. Rather than be the one with the ball he posted up David West. Rather than drive to the basket he gave it to Trevor Ariza to set up a pick and roll or spot up long three at the end of the shot clock.

The off-ball movement in crunch-time is atrocious to say the least. The problem with a David West post up is that everyone else is stagnant, they can’t move or create diversions to confuse the defense. I know Kevin Durant gave West fits but in theory the post-up should be defended with ease. The first quarter was a great demonstration of what this team should be doing. They were cutting moving without the ball, setting off-ball picks, setting multiple pick and rolls, double pick and rolls, mixing it up. Is this a coaching staff issue? No doubt, but I think the Hornets went with what they were comfortable with and that is the dreaded Byron Scott offense.

They need to be confident in what they did in the first quarter not the stagnation that is Byron Scott and the “two-man-game.”

This is the coaching staff’s fault, it is the Hornets fault and it is Chris Paul’s fault. It’s a collective problem that needs to be solved and against weaker teams like the Charlotte Bobcats and the New York Knicks.

As I keep saying it is an 82 game season, but the trends are a little too alarming.

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Tags: Chris Paul David West Kevin Durant Monty Williams New Orleans Hornets Russel Westbrook

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