Chris Paul may be one of the most valuable players yet to have officially been recognized as MVP. Despite twice leading the league in assists and earning his way to five All-Star games, Paul always manages to get passed up.
The superstar point guard finished second in All-Star voting in 2007-2008, losing out to Kobe Bryant by 306 votes.
Chances are he'll be beat out once more, this time by LeBron James.
There's still a good case to be made that Paul is at least as deserving, if not more so.
After all, he doesn't have All-Stars like Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh around to overwhelm the opposition with sheer talent and athletic dynamism. If anything, Paul is the only reason most of his teammates are playing as well as they are.
Beyond his ability to instantly change the Clippers' culture and attitude, Paul makes an incredibly tangible difference on the court as well. His court-vision and crisp passing have created countless opportunities for a supporting cast with no stars to speak of other than Blake Griffin.
His numbers are amazing in their own right—19.6 points, 9.1 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals in over 36 minutes a game.
The way Paul gets those numbers is even more impressive, though. His 26.82 player efficiency rating is second only to LeBron James and speaks to something that separates this point guard from his peers.
It's hard for point guards to handle the ball so frequently and run the offense while remaining that efficient. Derrick Rose is second to Paul among point guards with a 23.28 PER, a steep drop of over three points.
Paul also times his contributions brilliantly, methodically distributing the ball in the first half and taking over the scoring burden on an as-needed basis late in games.
And for a guy who only stands at 6'0", he makes an impact on the glass and disrupts plays with his strength and quick hands.
That scrappy, well-rounded game separates Paul from previous MVP Steve Nash and puts him in a league of his own among guards his size.
Kevin Durant may be the league's best scorer at the moment, and LeBron may be its best all-around player—but Paul does what he does without an elite, experienced supporting cast. His turnaround of the Clippers into a third seed overnight speaks for itself.
It may not speak loudly enough in the final estimate, though.