In an apparent parting shot to former point guard Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said the team will have “ball movement” with the veteran player now traded to the Houston Rockets. According to Bleacher Report, Rivers made the assessment during a press conference where they introduced the newest members of the Clippers. When asked “with Chris Paul gone, how do you envision your style of play changing," Rivers replied, “we’ll have ball movement," adding that that’s one of the things he always preaches to his players. Rivers emphasized that he’s more of a ball movement type of coach during his tenure as mentor and that’s what he plans on doing starting next season

Rivers’ statement hinted that Paul prevented the Clippers from implementing ball movement, but according to data, that was not the case.

The 32-year-old point guard averaged 86.2 touches per game, the eighth highest in the league. Among the top 10 players in average touches, Paul’s average seconds per touch was 4.98, the fourth lowest. Despite Rivers’ claim that the Clippers lacked ball movement during Paul’s tenure as playmaker, the team tallied a 110.3 offensive rating, the fourth best in the league. Earlier, Rivers told Marc Spears of The Undefeated that reshaping the Clippers’ roster was needed after suffering back-to-back exits in the playoffs.

Blake Griffin makes first public appearance

During the press conference, power forward Blake Griffin made his first public appearance since signing a maximum five-year contract worth $173 million.

Explaining his decision to stay with the Clippers, Griffin said signing a new deal was a “no-brainer," adding that “this is the best place for me." The power forward said he wants to finish his career in a Clippers uniform. Griffin tested the free agent market, scheduling meetings with the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets, but cancelled them after meeting with the Clippers’ brass.

Griffin new leader of Clippers

Griffin will now lead a team that lost Paul, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and Luc Mbah a Moute. Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets for Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Wiltjer, and a top-three-protected 2018 first-round pick.

In his seven years with the Clippers, Griffin averaged 21.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists. The Clippers also introduced several new members of the team, including versatile forward Danilo Gallinari and European star Milos Teodosic.

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