April 17, 2014

Top 5 Active NBA Point Guards- #1

1. Chris Paul 

When it comes to floor generals, Chris Paul is the don-dadda, the cream of the crop and the alpha male. Paul's dominance is not restricted to just one position, as he's not only the league's best point guard, but also one of the league's best players.

Many try to discredit Paul by claiming he hasn't enjoyed much postseason success, but there is still an abundance of time left in the 29 year old's career to truly assert himself as a legendary figure when it comes to point guards. Paul may not have the championship rings of Tony Parker, or the Finals experience of Rajon Rondo, but he does possess talent that surpasses both of those guards.

Paul is averaging 19.1 PPG, 10.7 APG which is tops in the NBA and 4.3 RPG. He shoots 46.7% from the floor and 36.8% from downtown. He's 6th in scoring among PG's and 3rd in FG%. Paul is 6th in PER league wide 25.9, which makes him the highest rated point guard in this category.

He also leads the league in steals per game at 2.48. CP3 has 39 double-double's this season, which is 1st among point guards and 10 more than second place guard John Wall. Also, his 11 double-double's at the beginning of the season tied Magic Johnson's record of most double-double's to start a season.

What's most remarkable is the discipline Chris Paul displays when the ball is in his hands. He has 663 assists in only 62 games which places him 4th among point guards. The three guards ahead of him all have 220 turnovers or more, with two of them turning over the ball 290+ times. Paul isn't even top 20 in turnovers among the league as a whole.

Obviously, Paul has only participated in 62 contests due to injury, and if he had been able to play the entire season his turnover numbers would be higher, but this is still a remarkable feat.

With numbers such as these, CP3 has the highest assist to turnover ratio in the league (4.57) which is absolutely outrageous. The next highest is Pablo Prigioni at 3.88, but he only logs 19.5 MPG, compared to Paul's 35.

 Paul possess some of the best handles in the NBA. His crossovers are speedy, his dribbles effective and his overall orchestration of the offense is a thing of beauty. Obviously Blake Griffin's emergence lifts some of the heavy offensive burden off of Paul's shoulders, but make no mistake, he slings the rock and shares the wealth unlike anyone else.

Paul leads the league in assist percentage at 48.8% and he creates the most points a game with his assists at 24.5 a game. Add this with the 19.1 PPG he scores a game, and CP3 is single handily responsible for 43.6 PPG for Los Angeles.

He's an offensive force at the point guard position that's not to be dealt with, as Paul's talents allow him to carve up the toughest defenses on a nightly basis. He's a dual threat, as he can provide the Clippers with a much needed scoring punch, or simply rip a defensive scheme to shreds with precise and crisp ball movement.

Statistics illustrate Paul's wizardry on the offensive end perfectly, as he's 2nd in offensive rating (124.7,) 6th in offensive win shares (9.1,) and 7th in total win shares (12.3.) No surprise, that Paul maintains the league's most potent offense as LAC leads the league in PPG at 108. He has 23 games with 12 assists or more, including a 42 point, 15 assist triumph against Golden State and a 34 point, 16 assist, 6 steal showing against Portland.

Unlike some players, who just dabble in dominance on the offensive end, Paul has the ability to extend his terror to the defensive side of the ball as well. In addition to leading the league in steals per game, CP is second in steal percentage at 3.5% and his defensive win shares sit nicely at 3.2.

From a physicality standpoint, the former Wake Forest star isn't the most intimidating match up, but his steady stream of trash talk and the Clippers high octane attack can frustrate opponents who aren't completely emotionally stable. This forces certain players into mistakes or even confrontations that can result in the assessment of technical fouls or even an ejection.

Paul plays the passing lanes very well, and when he's fired up he will really get engaged defensively and take it personally to stop the opposition from finding any success or rhythm offensively. Paul's constant barking on both ends is an attempt to rectify any and all mistakes the Clippers may make. He's a coach on the floor, and a fantastic leader, which are the most important traits a point guard must possess. This is why Paul flourishes so much, and why his teammates enjoy playing with him.

Paul's leadership tactics are incredible, as he plugs everyone into their comfort zone, allowing them to prosper to the highest degree possible. He listens, he communicates and he dictates the entire flow of the game to favor his team. He's made numerous players better, and continues to do so as his intensity and dedication rubs off on others. Blake Griffin has risen as one of the league's best players this year, and a huge reason for him elevating his game is Chris Paul.
Paul constantly chirps about winning, his championship aspirations and holding everyone to a certain standard of excellence. Loafing and coasting will not be tolerated, and although annoyed at times, Griffin realized he must improve to truly help Paul and the Clippers hunt down a championship. The pressure on Griffin was immense, yet he worked on his game and rose to the occasion.

Pressure in the NBA simply means you have untapped potential. Potential to impact a team so significantly that it may be the difference between bathing in championship success, or drowning in the murky waters of defeat. Simply put, pressure means greatness potentially awaits.

The pressure is on the Clippers this postseason, as they hope an improved roster, coaching staff and Griffin is enough to push them to the top. Having the best point guard in the league certainly helps as when thinking of floor generals, Chris Paul is considered the best. He is the mantle and there is absolutely no debating this.

Is Chris Paul the league's BEST point guard? If not, who is? Did you agree with my rankings? Share thoughts and opinions with me on Twitter (@wcboyer24) and continue to support The Basketball Society. 

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