Kobe, LeBron, D Wade...CP3? Why Chris Paul Has Entered the NBA's Super-Elite
The NBA was once a place where the point guard controlled the flow of the game. People like Magic Johnson, John Stockton, and Mark Jackson dictated play not through their one-on-one scoring capabilities, but rather, through their remarkably creative and eerily effective passing prowess.
In the last decade, with the evolution of the point forward and the ever growing emphasis on one on one scoring basketball, the art of the pass-first point guard has increasingly disappeared.
Chris Paul has not only revived the point guard position, but he has moved himself into the top tier of NBA players, alongside the likes of Kobe, LeBron, and D Wade.
Paul has been averaging 21.3 PPG, alongside 10.8 APG, 5.3 RPG and 2.7 SPG. CP's stat line is that of a supreme floor general who, similarly to the all-time great point guards, can take over a game by both getting his teammates involved and individually shredding a defense.
Defensively, Paul is the cream of the crop. He owns the record for most consecutive games with a steal, finishing his streak at 108. His combination of quickness and astounding basketball IQ makes him a pest for opposing point guards and bigs alike, as he is one of the most effective help defenders in the league.
Chris Paul is second in the NBA in both efficiency and PER rankings, behind only LeBron James. However, like all great point guards, his importance is not measured in his stats.
Paul individually controls game pace, style and momentum. He is not athletically superior to most other NBA guards, but he has as explosive a first step as anyone else in the game.
Paul is able to elevate his teammate’s ability in Jordanesque fashion. He has turned Tyson Chandler from a disappointment into a weapon off of the pick-and-roll, while accelerating David West's progression into one of the top PF's in the league. Without Chris Paul, the Hornets are a team of streak shooters and overachievers.
There is a lot that can be said about greatness. Whether it was in high school, when he dropped 61 in honor of his grandfather, his dominance in Winston-Salem, or his growing list of accolades in only his fourth year in the league, Chris Paul has continually wowed his onlookers.
His name is not the first to come up on commercials, broadcasts or news stories, but it should be. He is as dominant as any other player in the NBA, doing it instead through teamwork and finesse rather than through thunderous rim rockers and creative individual scoring.
Does Chris Paul deserve MVP this year? No, LeBron will probably dominate voting. Is he as valuable to his team as anyone else in the league? Undoubtedly.
CP3 is a stud among studs, and every player in the league knows it...too bad the rest of the world hasn't actually figured it out yet.
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