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Staturday: A Reminder That Chris Paul is Very Good at Basketball

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You might have noticed that things have been getting a little more structured around here. There's the link and news roundups, the whole daily posting thing, etc. The idea is that with great structure comes great readability. Or something.

So swimming down that same river (alternatively: spilling that same oil), Saturday and Sunday will be granted their own themes, at least till the beginning of the season. Last Sunday, we had a good debate in the comments re: Thibodeau vs. Williams. It's nice to get y'alls takes in the comments, so we'll keep that up every week with a 'Sunday Debate' subject. (Wall or Turner? Gray or Diogu? Gumbo or Jambalaya? The possibilities are endless!)

And as the title of this post would indicate, Saturdays will focus on statistical analysis. The series is inspired in part by Athletics Nation's "Staturday series", which ran for about a year. We'll look at Hornet players as well as the NBA and The Game of BasketballTM  at large. 

Jump!

We'll start off nice and easy in this inaugural edition. Subsequent Staturdays will likely include more hard-hitting analysis (such as this). But for today, amidst all the Rajon Rondo/Steve Nash/Derek Fisher hype, let us pause and take a moment to acknowledge the resplendent magnificence of Chris Paul.

Yesterday, I ran across this automated Wins Produced tool, the first I've seen of its kind. Agree or disagree with WP's methodologies, every catch-all statistic necessarily exists on a sort of spectrum. Each fits on one some side of the spectrum, and as that spectrum fills out, we have a broader basis of comparison for each methodology. There's no perfect catch-all stat, and the more we have to play with and discuss, the better off our understanding of the sport. 

The following table lists 2009-2010 point guards, their minutes played, their total Wins Produced, and total Win Shares, a measure combining a player's usage and efficiency. The table is sortable by clicking on column headers (thanks to Matthew at Lookout Landing for the magic). 

Player

Games Played

Wins (WP)

Win Shares

Deron Williams

76

14.8

10.3

Steve Nash

81

16.2

9.9

Rajon Rondo

81

17.9

9.6

Chauncey Billups

73

10.3

9.5

Jason Kidd

80

20.9

8.9

Chris Paul

45

12.1

7.3

Andre Miller

82

8.1

7.0

Raymond Felton

80

9.5

6.5

Russell Westbrook

82

9.5

6.1

Derrick Rose

78

6.8

6.0

Any way you look at it, that table is completely wild. Chris Paul sat out 37 games this year, saw his production drop off drastically from 2007-2009 even when he did play, and yet finished 5th or 6th in the league, depending on who you trust, in total point guard production. This isn't per minute, per game, per anything. This is straight madness.

It's also funny to see the league leader in Win Shares (Deron Williams) post a 10.3 total. That's the lowest total by a point guard league leader since 1981 and is downright minuscule compared to Chris Paul's 18.3 and 17.8 totals of the last two years. 

Rajon Rondo will get plenty more plaudits from the Mark Jackson/Charles Barkley types when the Finals start Thursday. And it really is well deserved as he's developed into a fantastic point guard, out from under the shadow of the Boston's big three. Deron Williams got his fair share of the hype, leading Utah into the postseason and past Denver. Nash is Nash, always one of the league's most fun players to watch.

All three would be wise to soak up all the "best point guard on the planet" adulation they can find this summer. Come November, #3 returns.