Player reviews are winding down at last, and today, we get to take a look at #3. Chris Paul stepped up his game to a ridiculous level this year. Last year, it was the chic thing to call Utah's Deron Williams a better point guard than Paul just because he advanced to the Conference Finals. That line of thought left out two critical points: (a) Paul played through injury for numerous games last year, and (b) Paul actually had a significantly better season statistically than Williams despite those injuries. So while the national media went goo-goo-ga-ga over D-Will, and while it stung a little bit to hear analysts call Williams the "right decision" over CP, Hornet fans knew the best was yet to come for Paul. And, oh man, we couldn't have been more right.
Positives: Where do I start? Most durable season of career (80 games), huge leap in shooting range and eFG% (nearly 60 points!), career best and NBA high 3.9 STL%, career low turnovers, 3rd lowest TOV% among point guards (Iverson, Davis), career high usage rate (25.1%), first 20 point/10 assist player since Tim Hardaway, AST% of 52 highest in NBA history by any player not named Stockton, PER of 28.3 highest in NBA history by a point guard
Negatives: Gambling defensive style, and uhh... ... ... hmmm. 37% three point shooting?
My Grade: 5, Explanation: There's really not much to explain. CP is hands down the best player to ever put on the Teal. People have long criticized his shooting. This year, he shot the three better than Kobe (who was invited to the 3-Pt Shootout). Yes, he struggles against Deron Williams. When Jazz fans compare the two, they always point to the head-to-head, and conveniently ignore the other 78 or so games. I don't think there's even a shadow of a doubt as to the best point guard in the League.
He has the kind of worth ethic that makes you believe he will improve his defense. His range and shooting ability will only continue to improve. His fouls/minute have decreased significantly year by year.
In many ways, Paul is the perfect basketball player. He's as good in the community as he is on the court, he motivates his teammates constantly, and he has an intense competitive spirit when playing. No, he doesn't D-Will's crossover or three point stroke. But the way things are going, it's not Deron that CP should be compared to; it's Magic and Oscar.