For the past few weeks, I have been covering the players that I felt were worthy of the title of franchise player. Needless to say, this list is only for the elite players in the league; the best of the best. In order to select the players , it was necessary for me to come up with some guidelines that the players had to meet in order to be part of the discussion. In order to view those requirements, just click here. Here are the players that have been covered so far:
And now, on to our featured NBA player….
15 and six. Chris Paul spent two years at
Chris Paul helped lead the New Orleans Hornets to the postseason by his third season in the league, and they have not missed the playoffs since. Keep in mind tough, the sample is relatively small; considering that the Hornets have made it to the playoffs twice in the Paul era. Nonetheless, Paul meets the criteria for now, but his team is in danger of missing of the playoffs this year (probably wouldn’t matter because CP3’s been injured for a large chunk of the season).
The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Standard
Chris Paul is now in his fifth NBA season; therefore his list of accomplishments might look somewhat scarce in comparison with some of the greats. Nonetheless, Paul was the 2005-06 NBA Rookie of the Year award winner and he has also been selected to three NBA All-Star games. Paul only participated in two of those because he was injured this year; but look at his averages in those two games:
PPG, 14.0 APG, 5.0 RPG, 3.5 SPG, 50.0 FG%, 1.5 TPG.
In addition, CP3 has been selected on the All-NBA defensive team twice (1st team for 2008-09, and 2nd team for 2007-08) and has also been voted on to the All-NBA team twice (1st team for the 2007-08 season and 2nd team for 2008-09 season). Paul gets a pass for this criteria.
The Karl Malone Rule
This might end up being the one blemish on Chris Paul’s great resume. As it stands right now, Paul has appeared in 338 out of a possible 394 NBA games in his career. That translates to a 85.8% participation rate. Considering that CP3 is still injured at this point in the season, it’s quite possible that he might dip underneath the 85% threshold before this NBA season ends. However, for the time being, he is over the limit and therefore passes this requirement.
The Magic Johnson Provision
You might see some guards with his court vision, others with his scoring ability, others that might defend well and perhaps a select few that can lead their team. But no other NBA point guard has all those skills wrapped in one; except CP3. Let me make this clear right now: at the point guard position in the NBA, there is Chris Paul; and then there is everybody else. Those last few lines I wrote almost made me trade half of my NBA 2K roster for the former Demon Deacon. I truly believe that he is in the upper echelon of the great players that we have today. Think of it like this: if the NBA were the equivalent of the R&B game; here are its best artists:
R. Kelly meets Kobe Bryant
Several people dislike R. Kelly the person because of the questionable activities he has entertained in his personal life. However, there is no doubting that he is the undisputed king of R&B. He has been doing it for over a decade and has been able to adapt his style to the ever changing times. Kellz is still the same type of artist he has always been, however his has a bigger repertoire than most entertainers.
Trey Songz meets LeBron James
Trey is the new guy on the block. He is the man trying to threaten Kellz place in the game today. The thing that sets Songz apart from others is that he is able to do a variety of songs in which he changes up the styles (he raps at times, whereas in other instances he sings) as well as the content. We have never seen an R&B artist like Trey Songz.
Justin Timberlake meets Dwight Howard
Everybody loves Justin Timberlake. He sings, dances, does cool commercials and even appears in movies. In addition, he is a complete mismatch. No one is able to stand up to him on the dance floor as he breaks it down and sings his lungs out for all to enjoy.
Usher meets DirkNowitzki
So good for so long, and yet tends to get overlooked. We forget that Usher’s been in the game going strong for more than a decade; blessing us with hits that just can’t seem to get out of our heads. Regardless of the drama unfolding in his personal life (think about his hit song Confessions), Usher puts that aside and performs to the best of his capabilities.
Chris Brown meets Chris Paul
Because he’s been out of commission for a while, we forget that Chris Brown is an amazing artist. He’s an up and comer, but he’s clearly an amazing talent. No one truly wants to test him on the dance floor because they know that he will destroy them. Also, he sings his emotions and shares his own life experiences like few can. His amazing potential and talent have drawn comparisons to some of the all time greats such as Michael Jackson (Jacko is probably the equivalent of Magic for the purposes of this illustration).
The five artists/players listed above are the untouchables. These guys are the cream of the crop, the elite amongst the elite. No one in the NBA right now can touch these guys (I should seriously consider writing a list of untouchables every year). As you can see, CP3 makes my list of untouchables. Have a quick look at Paul’s career numbers; somewhat impressive right?
Let’s now look at those same numbers against the some of the best point guards of the past 30 years (listed by scoring average):
Quite a cast of point guards we have listed above; and some very good numbers by all of them. Just so we’re clear though, Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas and John Stockton are all part of the basketball Hall of Fame. Kevin Johnson might or might not make it in; but I’m confident in saying that Jason Kidd will one day be in the Hall. Chris Paul’s production so far in his NBA career appears in the same list as those guys. That’s pretty impressive when you consider the fact that Paul has yet to enter his prime as a basketball player. But just in case you’re still not convinced; let me ask you this question: can you guess how many players are averaging a double double in points and assists throughout their careers in the playoffs? Done guessing? The answer is three. Have a look at the magical list.
Make no mistake, Chris Paul is the best point guard in the NBA. His leadership, production as well as his command of his team have him on track to being one of the best point guards ever. His playoff performances already place him in conversations and comparisons with legends such as Magic Johnson and John Stockton. CP3 obviously still has to accomplish more before we can truly put him on the same level as those players; but the mere fact that he is even remotely close to being in the same stratosphere as Magic and Stock tells me that Paul passes The Magic Johnson Provision with flying colors.
The Diesel Test
As you have previously seen, Chris Paul is one of the NBA untouchables. He is the best at his position and also one of the five best players in the league. In addition, He is currently building a resume that matches up favorably with some of the NBA greats. Considering that he’s only going to be 25 years old in May, I would venture to say that signing CP3 to a contract that averages $20 million per year at this point in his career is a sound investment. Keep in mind though, if the injuries continue to pile up, my stance might change; however at present time, Paul passes The Diesel Test.
Chris Paul is a top five NBA player and the best point guard in the NBA right now. He might currently be injured, but don’t let that fool you. Paul is not only a franchise player, but he is currently the standard by which we measure NBA point guards. Combine that with the fact that he passes all of the requirements, and it’s clear that Chris Paul is a stud franchise player. He might be down and out now, but he’ll be back soon. Know why? Because that’s what franchise players do.
Photo by: Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images