(in honour of the inaugural ‘Chris Paul Blog Day‘ hosted by AttheHive.com)
Chris Paul (6-0, 175) is now the quintessential ‘Point Guard’ in the NBA.
In terms of Leadership (which is crucial at this position), Offense, Defense & Rebounding … he is operating at the top of the League this season:
EFFICIENCY [2007-2008] *
1 Chris Paul 27.89
2 Deron Williams 22.60
3 Steve Nash 22.40
4 Baron Davis 22.20
5 Jason Kidd 20.64
6 Chauncey Billups 19.29
7 Tony Parker 17.36
8 Jose Calderon 17.28
doing precisely what a Point Guard (PG) is supposed to do for his team … i.e. Make his teammates Better.
Earlier this year, there were other PG’s operating at a very high level who compared favourably to Chirs Paul …
The Best Point Guards in the NBA
but, as the season has progressed several of these outstanding players have fallen by the wayside, unfortunate casualties in the annual ‘War of Attrition’ which is the NBA’s regular season schedule and, most recently, the 1st Round of the Playoffs (i.e. Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Jose Calderon & Baron Davis).
For a player to be considered amongst the ‘All-Time Greats’ he MUST excel in ALL THREE areas of the game, allowing him to DOMINATE the play in whatever way is necessary for his team to succeed, in a given match-up.
With his Size, Strength, Dribbling Skills and exceptional Change of Pace, Chris Paul has the ability to take the basketball everywhere on the floor it needs to go – at whichever speed it needs to get there – for his team to operate efficiently, either, in Transition or the Half-court.
With his tremendous court vision, his off-the-charts Basketball IQ and, most importantly, his Willingness to involve his teammates in the play, CP3 has the ability to create and then take advantage of the easy scoring opportunities for the other four players on the floor with him.
With his Size, Strength, Basketball IQ and, most importantly, his Willingness to get the job done, CP3 has the ability to Defend (multiple positions) & Rebound when (i) the opposition has the ball, or (ii) neither team has gained possession of the ball, which gives him the ability to exert His Influence on the game, at all times, and control the action for his team.
During his first two seasons in the NBA, Chris Paul’s major weakness, as a potentially dominant player, was his sub-standard 3Pt Shooting Percentage (i.e. ’05-06/28%, ’06-07/35%). This is no longer the case, however, as this season CP3 elevated his performance in this area to an acceptable level (i.e. ’07-08/37%) for a player with his solid stroke from the Free Throw Line (i.e. Career Average/84%).
At this point, only 3 seasons into his pro career, Chris Paul is a leading MVP Candidate – New Orleans (56-26) finished with the 2nd-best W-L record in the ultra-competitive Western Conference – and is on the brink of transforming his team into a serious contender for the NBA championship this year.
What still stands in his way?
The Best Point Guards in the NBA: An Update
‘Air Force One‘ … either Kobe Bryant (PG?) or Deron Williams (PG) … and Chauncey Billups (PG) or Doc Rivers (PG) or Lebron James (PG?) … THAT’S All.
It’s a long way to ‘the Top’, in the NBA.
In order to get there, and become ‘The Man’, you MUST beat ‘the Best’.
For Chris Paul … that journey has now begun, in earnest.