Chris Paul Proving He is Still the Best PG

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Published: November 4, 2010

After four games, it’s undeniably time to start addressing Paul as the game’s best point guard again. Some less educated fans will look at his 23-9-6-1.8 stat line and think “that’s nowhere near what other point guards are putting up”, and for some statistics they are right on. Other point guards are taking more shots in order to get their points, and making two or three times as many bad passes to get their assists.

Usual competition

Derrick Rose has put together a line of 27-9-5-1 steal. That’s seemingly better than Paul’s, but when you take a closer look at how they get to those numbers, it’s really quite clear which one is having a better year. Let’s put them in perspective.

PlayerPoints per shotassist/TO ratio3pm/3pa per game
Paul1.637.2:11/2
Rose1.201.73:11/4.66
1.2 points a shot is impressive for a PG. 1.63 is unheard of.Get it?Rose knows he isn't a good three point shooter, yet continues to take nearly five a game. Very odd behavior.

Derrick Rose just isn’t a smart basketball player. He might be the most athletic of the crowd at point guard, he might be the best pure player, and he might even have the highest ceiling, physically at least. Too many three pointers and too many turnovers doom him in this battle, and possibly for the long term.

What about Rondo, though? He’s assisting on a crazy number of plays this year. Surely his 12 points, 16 assists, 6 rebounds and 2.6 steals has to be at least comparable to Paul’s line, right? He’s on pace to set the all time assist record, and just set the record for assists through five games. Back to the stats-

PlayerPoints per shotassist/TO ratio
Paul1.637.2:1
Rondo1.164.1:1
Paul is over 40% more efficient than RondoOne is good, one is great. Again, Paul is way ahead.

To look at these two players, both so skilled at passing, rebounding, defense, and dribbling, it’s hard to see a huge difference unless you take scoring into consideration.  The difference in efficiency is staggering. Paul ranks 9th in the NBA this year in points per shot. Rondo clocks in at 99th/130. The  time this really makes a difference is at the end of games because Paul can do it himself, while Rondo must rely on the talents of more capable scorers.

Deron Williams- 17, 10, 5, and 1.3. Although his shot has been a bit off, we can’t forget about D-Will. His 3.25 turnovers per game are completely normal, as are his 10 assists per game. It’s clear to everyone (this year at least) that Paul has been better statistically across the board, so I’ll leave it at that.

Trying to get in the conversation

Stephen Curry- 20.5 points, 8.5 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal.  His 1.64 points per shot actually bests Chris Paul, and his assist per game total is close. Other then that, he gets killed across the board. Turnovers and defense really tell the story here.

Russel Westbrook- 21 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 2.5 steals. Yes, sir. Westbrook is looking even better than the optimists expected, coming off a stint with Team USA. Westbrook’s turnover rate is solid, as are his assist totals. He scores more less efficently than Paul, but slightly more often. Paul has just been slightly better across the board so far this year. He needs to prove he’s an elite point guard for more than just 4 games before he enters the conversation for the best PG title.

CP3’s real threat

John Wall- The rookie out of Kentucky has looked fantastic, starting off even better than advertised. His line of 24- 10-3 rebounds-4 steals is phenomenal. Not since Oscar Robinson has someone come into the league and put up 70 points and 30 assists in their first three games. The 4.66 turnovers per game are way too high, but everything else looks great. Keeping him from competing with Paul right now are the usual suspects- scoring efficiency and assist/TO ratio.

I realize he’s only a rookie, but watch a few games and you will concur that this kid is the real challenger to Chris Paul in the point guard department. Once he gets a year or two under his belt we can start a real conversation about who is the best point guard and stop inserting the D-Will’s and the Rondo’s into the conversation just to have something to talk about.

And yes, I realize it’s only been 3-5 games.

36 Comments

  1. QueenBee

    November 4, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I know it’s only been 3-5 games as well but I can’t believe CP3 is right now, today, leading the league in PER at 33. Barely 6ft tall. Are you kidding me?

  2. JCS

    November 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    CP3 is my favorite player, but ever since I saw Wall in Kentucky I became a fan. John Wall is the next CP3, IMPO.

  3. Mikey

    November 4, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I drafted John Wall in the 6th round of my fantasy draft, because dumb me forgot to draft a point guard. I wanted a different PG, but that Chris Paul guy got taken off the board pretty fast. Its looking like Wall is the steal of my league thusfar though. That kid is REALLY good!!!!

  4. James Grayson

    November 4, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    My friend tried to make the argument that turnovers don’t really matter it just means a player is trying to make things happen. I really don’t understand this logic because if your assist to turnover ratio is 2:1 that’s decent, but like if there’s someone pulling off an 8:1 it’s clear who the better player is.

    As well Rondo had 63% of his team’s assists while Paul had 40%. It’s clear that Rondo’s assists have a lot to do with the fact that the Celtics run a lot of off ball picks for their shooters as well as forcing Rondo to create for his team-mates.

    • 42

      November 4, 2010 at 5:34 pm

      Turnovers are not good, and some production of them comes from trying to make good plays. Those are fine. Others come from trying to make dumb plays. Those are not.

      The idea that ‘trying’ excuses mistakes is both pervasive and insane. Succeeding more than justifies failure, so it’s ok when developing, but eventual success is the only thing that really justifies the little failures.

  5. ur_gmas_daughter

    November 4, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Here’s an article from ESPN touching on the success of CP3 & the Hornets with the pick and roll:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/21140/what-to-expect-from-the-4-0-hornets

    • 42

      November 4, 2010 at 5:46 pm

      Nice. I’m mostly glad someone has noted that the Heat haven’t been thoroughly tested. Dealing with Chris will require some cohesion on their part . . . For 40 minutes.

  6. Schmide234

    November 4, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    stats dont tell the whole story either. Chris controls the game like no other guard. He makes the court his playground making other guards just look silly. points like Derrick Rose and John Wall may fill up the stat sheets but that doesnt make them better by any means. they play at fast speeds and seem out of control and rushed. when paul controls its almost like watching art. he slows down his game so that it gives the defense time to suck into him opening up teammates. no doubt he is the best and will be for many many years to come

    • tyler

      November 4, 2010 at 7:37 pm

      THANK YOU

    • Joe Gerrity

      November 4, 2010 at 7:38 pm

      As you may have noticed, I like Paul as much as the next guy. Still though, John Wall could very well wind up on Paul’s level sooner rather than later.

      We can both agree that right now Paul is the best, and it’s his title to lose.

      • Schmide234

        November 4, 2010 at 7:51 pm

        no i completely agree that wall will be a huge competitor for that title, but from what i know of his game hes no different then any other really fast pg thats athletic. when other point guards r finishing out games they will have to rely on iso at the top and either the step back jumper or quick blow bye at full speed. those are unwieldy and unreliable. Chris at the end of games makes the defense give him a wide open shot or he makes a play so that SOMEONE has an open shot, even if theyre two passes away and he receives no assist.

      • Caleb

        November 4, 2010 at 9:41 pm

        Possibly, yes, but I personally doubt it. Every year CP plays he looks more and more like the best PG in NBA *history*, much less the best PG right now. It would be pretty surprising for two players of that caliber to be playing at the same time… but sure, its possible.

      • QueenBee

        November 5, 2010 at 11:03 am

        Ok, the title says “Chris Paul Proving He is Still The Best PG”. Should it have been titled “Chris Paul Proving He is Still The Best PG but Wall Will Be The Best Soon”? Wall ain’t there yet. Everybody’s always gunning for that #1 spot. It may be CP’s to lose but he ain’t lost it yet.

  7. BeesGivingEffort

    November 4, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Very well said Schmide.

  8. HiMyNameisSteven

    November 4, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    going against the grain here but im not sold on john wall being as good as cp3 sometime soon..

    here are the reasons why he still needs ALOT of work
    1) he plays on a bad team is already their best player and go to option so … his stats are going to be a little inflated since he is counted on do to it all
    2) cant be considered great until ur team wins games and makes the playoffs consistently
    3) his jump shot is UGLY… not just does he need to improve it but his form is not great

    ya he is incredibly fast and athletic and he seems to have a good bball iq plays good d but really it takes more than athleticism to be chris pauls level

    • Joe Gerrity

      November 4, 2010 at 8:48 pm

      1 and 2 could and have been used to argue against Chris Paul being the best. Just sayin…

      Completely agree on number three. That’s been the biggest knock against him for quite some time.

      Obviously time will tell, but as of now I deem him the most legitimate long term threat to Paul’s crown.

      • HiMyNameisSteven

        November 5, 2010 at 1:53 pm

        before last season where he missed half the season i think a couple straight playoff trips and almost making western conference finals proves #2 is not for cp3 and #1… didnt d west make all star team 2 years in a row ? but yes i agree until this year it seems everything was counted on cp3 but i think the team this year has a much better offensive plan and we just let cp3 take over towards the end if we need a big play

  9. TheDonors

    November 4, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Right now CP, Rondo and Deron Williams are the top three. Who’s best is a matter of opinion. It’s kind of a pointless argument since there isn’t some ultimate stat or something that can confirm any one opinion over another. It seems that most people on here are selling Rondo short. I would say that right now, he exerts more influence over his team’s games than either of the other two. This isn’t about stats, it’s about control of the game. Of course CP can control a game, but he hasn’t been as forceful this year as he has been in any of the last three seasons. Rondo, on the other hand, has absolutely been the best player on the floor in every game he’s played so far this season. Unless you’ve watched them, you can’t comment on this. I’ve watched every Hornets game so far and every Celtics game. Rondo is the best player on a team with four Hall of Famers. That isn’t anything against CP, but give credit where it’s due.

    • Schmide234

      November 4, 2010 at 10:02 pm

      That my friend is incorrect. Rondo is on a STACKED team so all he has to do is dribble around and find the open man. plus Boston runs a ton of pick and pop/off ball screen and pops giving Rondo inflated assists. Rondo’s effect of the team is significant but not as great as Pauls. when the game is close and theres little time left you sure as hell dont wont Rondo taking the jumper or three so he is essentially out of the plays while pierce does the dirty work.

      Rondo is fantastic but ive watched all 4 hornets games and most the Celtics games and honestly i dont see how u believe Rondo controls so much. he doesnt create shots for his teammates near as much as paul and simply benefits from easy passes to the open man off screens.

      Paul is much better on the offensive end and can score anytime he wants while Rondo simply cannot. Rondo also doesnt have that draw or pull to gather the defenders eyes on him like Paul does. If they are evenly matched on the defensive end then Paul’s superior offense give him the edge.

      • tyler

        November 4, 2010 at 11:19 pm

        THINK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • QueenBee

      November 4, 2010 at 11:33 pm

      No point guard controls the game the way Chris Paul does. The best at clock management, pace control, etc. Please, watch more games. Get yourself some NBA League Pass or something. Find a stream somewhere or something.

  10. Caleb

    November 4, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    There isn’t an “ultimate stat” TheDonors… but that’s why you look at multiple stats, and when you add it all up CP dominates. Like Joe noted, the difference in scoring efficiency between Rondo and CP is huge.

    Because of this I don’t think its a matter of opinion at all myself… but hey, thats just me. “Control of the game” sounds nice but its incredibly subjective… from my own subjective perspective CP has shown incredible “control of the game” this season. Him not being “as forceful” is a marker of that. He has played smart and patient ball and then taken over down the stretch in every game thus far. If that’s not control I’m not sure what is.

    And hey, rondo is wonderful and is playing great basketball. I have lots of respect for his game… but that doesn’t mean he’s close to Paul. Being the best player on the court with 4 other hall of famers certainly sounds impressive, but those 4 other hall of famers are all in the twilight of their career.

    • TheDonors

      November 5, 2010 at 2:54 pm

      All I’m saying is give credit where it’s due. At least Caleb acknowledges that Rondo is playing at the highest level for his team, but then you sold yourself short by saying the whole “twilight of their careers” thing. I knew someone was going to pull that one out. But if you think about what you’re saying, you contradict yourself by saying that it’s easy for Rondo because all he has to do is get the ball to his HOFers when that argument suits your purposes, but then say the exact opposite (that they are just over the hill players now and its no big deal to consistently outplay ALL FOUR of them) when that suits your purposes. Which one is it?

      I love the Hornets and I love CP, but that doesn’t mean another player on another team doesn’t deserve to be in the conversation. If there was no competition, being the top PG wouldn’t mean a thing anyway. Even saying that it’s arguable is like I’m saying I hate Chris Paul or something. That is just homer garbage and opinions like that aren’t really about basketball at all.

  11. nikkoewan

    November 4, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    again another useless argument. Some people will still believe Rondo to be the best PG, or Deron to be the best PG. For me, as long as we are getting wins, I won’t talk about this. Let CP3’s play do all the talking…

    • Bug Marley

      November 5, 2010 at 4:22 am

      Agreed. I was once very interested on stats to prove that CP3 is the best PG. But at the end of the day, winning is the most important thing and CP and the rest of the team are doing it.

  12. tyler

    November 4, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Does anybody know who Rondo has

  13. tyler

    November 4, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Just saying

  14. L_Reazy

    November 5, 2010 at 10:36 am

    GOD … I really appreciate this topic! I am so tired of my friends telling me about Rajon Rondo … maybe because they know Paul is my favorite player … at any rate he’s my favorite player because he is the best at his position. You don’t become my favorite as 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc…

    ….and ofcourse my friends base everything solely on assist per game where Rondo is averaging 16apg versus Paul’s 9apg, but clearly Paul has to fill the stat sheet more for his team than Rondo does. However, I always base my arguments in regards to Chris Paul versus other PGs in the league on efficiency where Paul is usually #1 amongst PGs in the league.

    The way I rank em’ … (1)Paul, (2)Rondo, (3)Rose, (4)Williams, (5)Nash!

    If Paul were playing with 5 or 6 hall of famers he’d average 20apg with even better efficiency!

    L_Reazy

    • TheDonors

      November 5, 2010 at 2:57 pm

      If CP were playing with 5 HOFers and averaging 20 pts a game, that team wouldn’t be going anywhere. If you understood basketball, you’d know that.

      • L_Reazy

        November 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm

        I stated 20 apg not 20 ppg!

        L_Reazy

      • Schmide234

        November 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm

        he said 20 apg. not 20 pts. and why the anger Donors? i feel like ur insulted or something and need to knock others to feel better

      • tyler

        November 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm

        What!?! are you serious

  15. QueenBee

    November 5, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Not saying Wall isn’t good but I think some guys here like the way Wall dances. LOL.

  16. Mazon

    November 5, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Can someone please post rondo’s free throw percentage and then leave him out of the conversation for the rest of this blog? Thanks

  17. Mazon

    November 5, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Its bad when Shaq is on your team but they’d rather foul the point guard at the end of the game. Lol

    • 42

      November 5, 2010 at 1:10 pm

      Ok, you should get an award.

      Do we have awards? Should we?

      The Horney? Nah . . .

      The Twenty? It has promise . . .

      The Pauly? Too Contemporaneous . . .

      The Honey? Hmmmm . . . Maybe a little cerebral

      The Stingy? That’s about as good as I’m going to come up with between analyses.

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