Stop the Debate: Chris Paul Is The Best Point Guard In The NBA

Basketball, The Rev — By on May 16, 2012 at 9:43 am

It was only a few short years ago that Chris Paul was getting the torch passed along from the likes of Steve Nash and Jason Kidd as the best point guard on the planet. But as a few nagging injuries and turmoil in New Orleans began to hamper Paul, a funny thing started to happen. People began forgetting about Paul and proclaiming new heirs to the NBA point guard throne.

The case was made for the whirling dervish that is Russell Westbrook. Others declared the perennial malcontent Deron Williams as Paul’s superior. Rajon Rondo was turned into a walking double-double. Tony Parker is having perhaps the most impressive season of his career. Derrick Rose went and won himself an MVP. And a slew of young point guards, from Ty Lawson to Kyrie Irving and everyone in between, has grabbed the NBA’s collective attention. The debate has raged on.

Well, Chris Paul has come back this postseason and reminded us all that this debate needs to stop, because there really isn’t one; Chris Paul is still the best point guard in the Association. So let’s put an end to all this nonsense, please. Paul is laughing at anyone who doubts him.

Look at what the man has done (and is doing) for arguably the worst professional sports franchise in North American history. The moment the hand of Stern hit the accept button on moving Paul to the Clippers, the course of the franchise was altered. All by himself, he transformed LA’s other basketball team into the talk of not only the town, but the entire league for the first time in, well, forever. And rightfully so, because Paul immediately made the Clippers relevant and, even more importantly, credible again.

With him running the show, the Clippers went storming out of the gate, and while they stumbled down the stretch, they still managed to knock off a Memphis team in seven games that many people were picking to make a deep run. And they did it all because no player on the planet makes better decisions with the basketball than Chris Paul. And at the end of the day, isn’t that a point guard’s most important responsibility?

Statistically, Paul hasn’t been the best point man in the league or the playoffs this season. The aforementioned Rondo has been an absurd triple-double machine. But Rondo still cannot make a jump shot to save his life, which means come stretch time, the ball really has to be in the increasingly older hands of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett.

Russell Westbrook is a dynamo who is the lead guard on one of the favorites to win it all. But even to this day, Westbrook’s decision-making is shaky at times. There may not be any tension between Kevin Durant and him, but there is still some disconnect from time-to-time on when exactly Russell should be deferring to the league’s best scorer.

And with all due respect to my man Kenny, Deron Williams isn’t even half the leader that Chris Paul is. He brooded his way out of Utah for reasons still unknown, failing to get along with one of the game’s greatest coaches. And while his talent is unquestioned, he’s never been able to help his team truly take the next step, not in Utah and certainly not yet as a Net. Granted, he’s never been on the best team in his league, but he also doesn’t seem like the guy that commands the floor the way Paul does, and that’s what truly separates him from the rest.

When push comes to shove, you know Chris Paul is always going to make the right play. He’s done it time and time again this season, and he was the sole reason the Clippers were able to first erase a 27-point deficit and win Game One against the Grizzlies, and then were able to outlast a deeper, more experienced Memphis team in seven. He makes everyone on the court play the type of game he wants when it matters most. He dictates the flow. And he gets the most out of his teammates.

If you really look at it, who does Paul have as running mates? Yes, Blake Griffin is a highlight machine and tenacious force, but he can’t get out of his own way at times on offense. DeAndre Jordan can block shots like a mad man, but he can’t do much offensively. Eric Bledsoe and Mo Williams are at their best as spot-up guys. Randy Foye is dreadfully inconsistent. Honestly, Caron Butler is probably the most consistent offensive force outside of Paul, and he’s not exactly the player he was before injuries found him.

Still, Paul makes it work. He orchestrates his team with brilliance, hitting every note perfectly to get the most out of everyone’s individual abilities.

Maybe he’s not as dynamic as Westbrook, as fluid as Parker, as explosive as Rondo. Maybe he doesn’t quite have the burst of Derrick Rose, the scoring outbursts of Deron, the young legs of Lawson and Irving. But he has something more important than any of that; has has command of the game at all times.

This season and especially this postseason, even playing injured, he’s proven there is no longer any debate. Chris Paul is the best point guard in the NBA, no matter how many people try to supplant him.

Rev. P. Revere

Reverend Paul Revere, aka Joe Boland, is a sports blogger out of Philadelphia whose life revolves around sports 365 and a quarter days per year. Keep up with Rev at his own personal blog, The House That Glanville Built and on Twitter.

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    14 Comments

  • Joe Simmons says:

    Stands up… Takes off cap… Claps slowly.. Well said Rev!!!

  • Kenny says:

    Why can’t Paul be given the mantle without having to say what other PGs can’t do? That’s what drives me crazy; Paul is having a good season, has helped lead the Clippers to being a team worthy of respect (although having Mr. Big Shot, Blake, De’Andre, Month Williams, and a slew of young players and vets hasn’t hurt either), and is on the cusp of making the West Finals.

    Why take shots at Deron? The last time I checked, he’s made a conference final in his career, whereas Paul was the recipient of a 58-point ass-whooping of a defeat in his playoff career. Deron has not only made a conference final, but he’s also advanced past the first round multiple times. Outside of Paul’s Hornets beating a Mavs team in 2008, he hasn’t done shit in the postseason except get his ass whooped.

    Why knock Rondo? The last time I checked, he’s the engine of a Boston Celtics team that people left for dead at the start of the season. On top of that, the ball is in his hands during crunch time, unless they need a bucket at the end, where, OF COURSE, you have to give the ball to Pierce and let him pick his spot on the court.

    If the premise is Paul is the best because he does a, b, c and d, then fine, but there’s no need to say what other PGs don’t do, because if we do, we can go to town on Paul for what he doesn’t do, or hasn’t done, either.

    • I knew Kenny would be fired up about this one …

      I guess I could just talk about Paul doing a, b, c and d, but the impetus for me writing this is that so many people have been proclaiming other point guards as the best. Here, I wanted to point out why they aren’t the best, in my opinion, while simultaneously pumping up Chris Paul’s merits.

      Believe me, I’d love to have Rondo. I’d love to have Deron. I’d love to have D-Rose or Westbrook or anyone else mentioned. They’re all fantastic players. But, in my eyes, every one of them has more flaws in running a team than Paul does.

      Sure, some guys have had more team success. Others have had more individual success. But when I watch every guy play the position, no one dictates the game and sets up his teammates better to get the most out of than Paul in my eyes.

      Clearly, that’s not Kenny’s take. It’s not Ed’s take. And I’m sure it’s not a lot of people’s take. But I calls it like I sees it, and in Paul, I see the best floor general in the game.

  • From a “pure” PG perspective, nobody is better than CP3. Period. I’m not a fan because I happen to think he’s one of the dirtiest players in the game today, but that’s neither here nor there. There’s nothing that he can’t do on the basketball court.

    Rondo is a great point guard in his own right, but he’s also a “stat chaser.” He plays to get assists and rebounds and outside of LBJ, nobody chases numbers quite like he does. He’s limited offensively, but I can never say a bad thing about Rondo because dude is a winner and he balls out. But CP3 is better than him.

    DWill played for my Fighting Illini, so I’m biased in a sense. He’s a great PG, too, but in Utah, he had the opportunity to play for Sloan in a system that revolved around the PG and the PF. That’s why both him and Boozer looked phenomenal together all those years. But away from that, he doesn’t seem to be able to will his team to wins the way CP3 has. Especially in New Orleans when he played with scrubs.

    He’s never had the same caliber of teammates that both Williams and Rondo have had in their careers until this season and these are the same guys that couldn’t win a thing before Chris Paul got there.

    Bottom line, Chris Paul is the prototypical pg and in my mind, there is no debate. He’s the best PG in the NBA and even though I show Englewood love to the homie Derrick Rose, there isn’t a point guard in the NBA better.

  • JAG says:

    Very good…It’s always a treat to see Kenny blast off.

    Obviously, the title is intended to be provocative and stimulate debate. The Rev makes a good case for his boy. As he has hinted throughout the article, the real key is matching the PG’s skills to the teams’ needs.

    When the Celtics put together their Big 3, the guys already knew they would be sacrificing shots to each other. So, their perfect point guard is someone who does everything else well but can’t shoot – Rondo! If Westbrook had been the Celtics’ PG, Ray, KG and Pierce would have tied him up and thrown him into the Charles River.

    The great thing about CP3 is that he’s not the best at anything, but is very good at everything. He can sense what the team needs and deliver. Most PG’s need to be in the right situation to truly blossom; CP3 can adapt to whatever you give him to work with.

    My vote: CP3 is the best today but I’m an old school midwestern guy from the Big Ten. Since this is Rev’s post, I’ll reveal my choice with a bible verse

    Isiah 11:6 – and a little child shall lead them.

  • I sit here and I think, how are the Clippers even in the playoffs? When I look at the roster, if it’s not a dunk, I’m not sure how this team scores in the half court set. They don’t have a shooter (although I like Nick Young out of WAS), Griffin and Jordan are athletes that run and jump and dunk (neither have a go to post move), Moe Williams, a shorter younger Bonzi Wells (Foye), Tuff Juice (more legend than real, more of a scorer too) and a gang of ‘other’ dudes and I keep coming back to Chris Paul.

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