I think we, as a nation of basketball fans, consistently take Chris Paul for granted. He’s a Top 3 player today, in my opinion, and has been the best point guard for years, in what should be all of your opinions.
The lead guard position is the most difficult to gauge from our television sets, because being a good point guard is much more about leadership, and controlling tempo, which cannot be recorded by any statistic. I can tell, you want stats. Fine. Try these:
- The fewest assists Chris Paul’s had in a game (playing a minimum of 30 minutes) is 3. Paul’s only had 9 games of 3 assists in 7 years (515 games).
- Chris Paul has only had one game in his 7 year career with less than 3 assists (NOH vs. PHI, ‘07). He had 2 in 28 minutes.
- Over his career, Paul averages 18.8 points (47.2 FG%), 9.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and almost 2.5 steals per game in the regular season.
- In the Playoffs, Paul averages 21.6 points (48.5 FG%), 10.2 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and still over 2 steals per contest.
All of that’s great, but here’s the real reason I love Chris Paul, and the secret that makes him so good: he’s a nasty little cuss. According to the NY Post’s Peter Vecsey, when Chris Paul was a high school senior, all he wanted to do was go to the University of North Carolina.
“I loved the Tar Heels,” he said, smiling that beatific smile, something he does most of the time, on and off guard duty, keeping the population off balance so no one knows what’s on deck. “I grew up following North Carolina. It was 13 miles away from my home in Lewisville. Since I was a little kid, that was the only school I wanted to play for.”
As the story goes, UNC’s coach Matt Doherty, told Paul there “might be a spot for him after the season.”
“But there’s definitely room on my team for you as a walk-on,” Paul recalls Doherty generously informing him.
After taking his high school team to a the state semifinals and a 26-4 record Doherty finally offered Paul a scholarship.
“I had waited patiently for that day to come,” Paul said somberly, his smile having run away from his face. “I wanted to know I was good enough to get one. As soon as it was offered, I called coach [Skip Prosser] and committed to Wake Forest.”
I like my basketball players the way I like my elderly drunks: pissed off.