The L.A. Clippers have gotten off to the best start in franchise history, winning 10 of their first 11 games decisively. One of the most stunning things about the season, at least from an individual standpoint, is Chris Paul‘s stunningly improved shooting from long range.
Paul is averaging 19.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and a league-leading 2.9 steals per game on 48.5 percent shooting from the field and a career-high 47.3 percent from downtown. That puts him at eighth in the league in three-point percentage behind some of the hottest shooters in the league this year in Andrew Wiggins (54.1%), Channing Frye (51%), and Stephen Curry (47.5%).
According to Paul, the spike in the shooting percentage could be the result of having LASIK eye surgery in Los Angeles this past summer.
“I had LASIK eye surgery this summer. My brother sent me a text the other day saying that my percentage is up because of my LASIK eye surgery. I was laughing, but my doctor who did the surgery, his other clients said their percentages went up that next season.”
“I don’t [believe it],” said Paul with a chuckle. “I’d like to think that I have something to do with it, but it might be. I do see a lot better than I did. Probably not squinting as much.”
Through 11 games, here’s a look at Paul’s incredible shot chart, via NBA.com/Stats.
The top of the key and the wings have been Paul’s bread and butter, with 24 of this 26 made three pointers coming from that area. What makes the shooting percentages even more amazing is the fact that Paul is taking a career-high five three-point attempts per game. The best shooting season from downtown for Chris Paul was in 2009-10 at 40.9 percent, back when he was with the New Orleans Hornets.
Paul added that bad eyesight sort of runs in his family, with both his father and his brother having LASIK eye surgery during his rookie year with the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. Why didn’t Paul get the surgery sooner if he knew he couldn’t see well?
The 6-foot guard said he actually didn’t think he needed the surgery as long as he could see the rim, and revealed that he even memorized the bottom two lines on the Snellen eye test chart.
“I had it memorized. As long as i could see the rim, I felt like I was cool. [The surgery] was probably the most nerve-wrecking thing I’d done.”
Everybody used to tell me that I squinted when I was on the court. Like if Doc was trying to get my attention to call a play, they say I would squint all the time.”
It’s hard to think that it could be the difference, but maybe this offseason surgery could make a big difference for Paul and the Clippers as they pursue an NBA Championship.