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.