NBA

Chris Paul Could Still Play a Role in the Lakers Winning a Championship This Year

Chris Paul will be on a new team for the second time in as many seasons in 2020-21, and for the third time in four seasons. However, before the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Paul to the Phoenix Suns, many wondered if he would go to the LA Lakers to team up with LeBron James. That, obviously, didn’t happen, but Paul could still actually play a role in the Lakers winning a championship this season. It would just be via Dennis Schroder.

Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder played together on the Thunder

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After two seasons with the Houston Rockets where Chris Paul actually got extremely close to reaching the NBA Finals, Paul got traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2019.

Paul ended up having an excellent season with the Thunder, 2019-20, though. He earned his first All-Star selection since 2015-16, as he averaged 17.6 points per game, 6.7 assists, and five rebounds. Paul also had his best shooting percentage since the 2009-10 season, as he shot 48.9% from the field.

His play ended up helping the Thunder go on a surprise trip to the playoffs, too, as they went 44-28 and finished fifth in the Western Conference. Another reason Oklahoma City was so good in 2019-20, though, was because of the play of Dennis Schroder. Schroder ultimately averaged 18.9 points per game and four assists for the Thunder last season.

However, much like Paul, Schroder will also be on a new team in 2020-21.

The LA Lakers acquired Dennis Schroder via trade

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The Lakers had the best team in the NBA in 2019-20. LeBron James averaged 25.3 points per game, 10.2 assists, and 7.8 rebounds for LA, while Anthony Davis recorded 26.1 points per game and 9.3 rebounds. The two of them were an unstoppable duo, as they ultimately led the Lakers to an NBA championship.

Despite having the best team last year, though, the Lakers have continued to get stronger this offseason. They added the reigning Sixth Man of the Year in Montrezl Harrell, who averaged 18.6 points per game and 7.1 rebounds for the LA Clippers last season. They also added three-time All-Star Marc Gasol, as well as Wesley Matthews.

Their biggest move, though, was adding Dennis Schroder, who will definitely be an upgrade over Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo offensively. Schroder, who has averaged 17.9 points per game or more in three of the last four seasons, will bring the Lakers scoring and an ability to shoot from long range as he made 38.5% of his 3-point attempts last year.

However, what he will also bring to the Lakers is everything that he learned from Chris Paul last season.

Chris Paul might still help the Lakers win a championship

Chris Paul is playing for the Phoenix Suns in 2020-21. However, he could still play a role in the LA Lakers winning another championship.
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers (from left) controls the ball against Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 19, 2019. | Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

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Many people wondered if the Lakers would trade for Chris Paul. The future Hall of Fame point guard is a 10-time All-Star, has led the NBA in assists per game four times, and has led the NBA in steals per game six times. He has pretty much accomplished everything except for winning a championship, and the Lakers would have given him an opportunity to do so. However, Paul ended up not going to the Lakers and ultimately went to the Phoenix Suns this offseason via trade.

He could still potentially help the Lakers win a championship this year, though. Schroder has played point guard throughout his entire career and will probably run the point a lot for the Lakers throughout this upcoming season. Last year, he got to play with one of the best point guards of all-time in Chris Paul. His experience with Paul could help the Lakers tremendously.

“Schroder said he learned a great deal from Chris Paul in OKC last season that should help him moving forward in his career,” Lakers reporter Mike Trudell recently reported.

Spending any time with a future Hall of Famer can mean a lot for a player. Schroder ultimately got to spend a season with one who plays the same position as him. Now, he can take what he learned from Paul and help the Lakers win another championship this upcoming season.

Chris Paul might not be playing for the Lakers in 2020-21, but he will still have an impact on their season, and might still help them get a ring.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference