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Chris Paul Appreciation

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Published: February 19, 2011

I was looking back at some of Chris Paul’s achievements and highlights through the years and felt like posting my first journal on here.

High School

Chris Paul West attended Forsyth High School in Lewisville, North Carolina.

Though he only played two seasons of varsity basketball, he still was named a McDonald’s All-American. In the McDonald’s All-American game, he had a game-high 10 assists and received the Naismith Sportsmanship Award.

He was named North Carolina’s Mr. Basketball for 2003 by The Charlotte Observer.

As a senior, Paul averaged 30.8 points, 9.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds, and 6.0 steals per game leading his team to a 27-3 record and the Class 4A Eastern Regional finals. He didn’t win a state championship in high school, but he led his AAU team to a championship and won the MVP in the final tournament.

One of the most touching stories I’ve seen from a high school athlete or any athlete for that matter:

He went on to receive a scholarship to Wake Forest.

College

Chris Paul attended Wake Forest for two seasons before declaring for the 2005 NBA Draft.

In his first college game, he scored 25 points, had 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals in a win over George Washington. As a freshman, he was named the ACC Rookie of the Year, ACC All-Defensive Team, and National Freshman of the Year by several publications. He averaged 15.3 points, 6.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 steals, shot 45.1% from the field, and 47.4% from 3-point range.

During his sophomore season, he again was on the ACC All-Defensive Team and was among the Consensus First Team All-Americans. He averaged 14.8 points, 4.9 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 steals, shot 49.6% from the field, and 46.5% from 3-point range. By the time he declared for the 2005 NBA Draft as a sophomore, he had finished near the top of almost every offensive category at Wake Forest.

Some incredible plays in here:

Buzzer beater!

NBA

He was drafted 4th overall by the New Orleans Hornets in 2005.

2005-2006 Season

In his first NBA game, he scored 13 points, had 4 assists, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals in a win over the Kings. In his rookie season, he averaged 16.1 points, 7.8 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.2 steals en route to winning the Rookie of the Year. Paul led all rookies in points, assists, steals, and minutes, earning him the 2006 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He was also the only unanimous selection to the 2005–06 NBA All Rookie First Team and was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month every month in the 2005–06 season. After the season, Paul won the ESPY Award for Best Breakthrough Athlete. He recorded his first triple-double on April 2, 2006 against the Toronto Raptors with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists.

Though all 10 plays are ridiculous, I’d say #2 is my favorite. Insane.

2006-2007 Season

He followed up his impressive rookie campaign with a solid sophomore season. He improved his scoring average to 17.3 points, and improved his assists average with 8.9 per game. He averaged 4.4 rebounds per game. Paul’s season was riddled with injuries though, as he was limited to playing in only 64 games. He was not named an All-Star in 2007, but he was named to replace Steve Nash in the 2007 Skills Challenge during All-Star Weekend. He played in the Rookie Challenge and dished out 17 assists and had 9 steals, both Rookie Challenge records at the time(Wall now has the assists record with 22). When interviewed during the Rookie Challenge, Paul vowed that he would be an All-Star next season, as the All-Star Game would be held in New Orleans.

I couldn’t find a top 10 plays of the year for him, but this play should suffice:

2007-2008 Season

During this season, the Hornets fully returned to New Orleans after having to play in Oklahoma City for a while due to Hurricane Katrina. This season is when many would say that Paul emerged into a superstar. He averaged 21.1 points and 4 rebounds and led the NBA in steals with 2.71 per game (at least 1 in all 80 games he played in) and assists with 11.6 per game. He was selected by NBA coaches to play in the 2008 NBA All-Star Game which was hosted by the city of New Orleans, thereby fulfilling his vow from the previous season. During All-Star Weekend, Paul participated again in the 2008 All-Star Skills Challenge. He sparked a 4th quarter comeback for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game, but the East held on to win 134–128. He finished the game with 16 points, 14 assists and 5 steals. Paul continued his stellar play following the All Star game, leading the New Orleans Hornets to one of the best records in the West. After a 37 point, 13 assist, and 3 steal performance by Paul against the Chicago Bulls on March 17, 2008, (Paul led a 4th quarter comeback win) the Hornets ascended to the top of the standings in the Western Conference. On April 4, 2008, he helped the Hornets clinch a playoff spot for the first time since the 2003–04 season. The Hornets ultimately finished the season with a 56–26 record, the best record in team history, and finished #2 overall in the NBA Western Conference standings.

Again I couldn’t find a top 10 plays of the year for him, but this is a great video. I love when he begs not to come out of the game near the end of the video. Gotta love him.

2007-2008 Playoffs

Round 1

Playoff Debut: 35 points, 10 assists, 3 rebounds, and 4 steals in a 104-92 win over the Mavericks.

In game 2, he had 32 points, 17 assists (franchise playoff-record), 5 rebounds, and 3 steals in a win over the Mavericks. In game 3, he had 16 points and 10 assists in a loss in Dallas. In game 4, he had 16 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and a steal in a win in Dallas. Then in game 5, he put up a triple-double of 24 points, 15 assists, 11 rebounds, and 2 steals in a win to clinch the series.

Round 2

In game 1, he had 17 points, 13 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals in a win over the Spurs. In game 2, he had 30 points, 12 assists, 2 rebounds, and a steal in another win over the Spurs. In game 3, he had 35 points, 9 assists, 2 rebounds, and a steal in a loss in San Antonio. In game 4, he had 23 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals in another loss in San Antonio. In game 5, he had 22 points, 14 assists, 3 rebounds, and a steal in a third win over the Spurs. In game 6, he had 21 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals in a loss in SA. In game 7, the Hornets suffered a heart-breaking loss to end their magical season as he had 18 points, 14 assists, 8 rebounds, and 5 steals.

There were great highlight videos for each game of both series, but I decided that I’d just put up his playoff debut and one other coming up. This play is probably my favorite from the two series:

He finished second in MVP voting, behind Kobe Bryant, who beat him with a margin of 306 votes (I’m not even going to discuss how Paul deserved MVP more than Kobe that year, because there are too many Laker fans on this site, but it’s true. Kobe did deserve at least one in previous years however). Also, he was selected for the All-NBA First Team, 3 votes shy of a unanimous choice.

Paul and the Hornets then reached an agreement on a three-year extension with a player option with a fourth year, with a total value of $68 million.

2008-2009 Season

For the second season in a row Paul finished the season as the league leader in assists and steals. He also scored a career best 22.8 points per game on a career best percentage of 50.3%. Paul participated in his second NBA All Star Game starting for the Western Conference All Stars. On December 17, 2008, against the San Antonio Spurs, Paul broke Alvin Robertson’s 22-year-old NBA record by registering at least one steal in 106 consecutive games. The new record reached 108 consecutive games before ending on Christmas Day against the Orlando Magic.

After the season, Paul was selected to the NBA All-Defensive Team first team, and the All-NBA second team. He was also fifth in the 2009 MVP voting, receiving two first place votes and a total of 192 points.

2009-2010 Season

This season was full of injuries, unfortunately. Only 9 games into the season, he suffered a left ankle sprain against the Portland Trail Blazers. Once Paul returned on December 9, New Orleans won 18 of their next 28 games, including a six-game winning streak. He earned his third All-Star appearance as a reserve guard, finishing third with 1,055,789 votes behind Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. In early February, an MRI revealed a torn meniscus in Paul’s left knee after it was tweaked in two consecutive games in late January. On February 4, he underwent arthroscopic surgery performed by renowned sports physician James Andrew in Florida. Sidelined for nearly eight weeks, Paul, who was averaging 20.4 points and an NBA-best 11.2 assists, missed 25 Hornets games and the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, where his reserve spot was filled by Denver Nuggets point guard Chauncey Billups.

2010-2011 Season

Heading into the All-Star break, he is averaging 16.2 points, 9.6 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and again leading the NBA in steals with 2.5. He was voted as the Western Conference starting point guard and again will be competing in the Skills Competition. However, the main theme of this season so far has been whether or not he is completely healthy. It has been pretty obvious that he is not 100% as he has not been able to get into the lane whenever he pleases like the Chris Paul in previous years. His knee still seems to be recovering, and he has had a nagging ankle injury all season, but remembering how it felt to sit out a majority of last season, he continues to play each game giving what he can to the team. This season his game has had many changes to it to adjust to his knee/ankle issues. He now settles for a lot more jump shots instead of having his way and getting to the rim at any given time. However, the good news is that all of his shooting percentages have improved. His Hornets are currently the 6th seed in the Western Conference after falling 3 spots with injuries to starters Ariza and Okafor.

In my opinion, one of his best plays of the first half of the season:

International

Paul has earned 10 caps for various junior national teams. He made his debut for the senior United States national basketball team on August 4, 2006 in a friendly against Puerto Rico. Paul made the final cut and remained on the Team USA roster for the 2006 FIBA World Championship. Team USA finished with an 8–1 record and defeated 2004 Olympic gold medal winner Argentina for a third-place finish. Paul set a Team USA World Championship total assist record with 44 assists, to go along with only 9 turnovers. He participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where the USA went unbeaten en route to the gold medal, defeating 2006 world champion Spain. He has a total of 3 medals: a gold from the 2004 FIBA Americas U20 Championship, a bronze from the 2006 FIBA World Championship, and a gold from the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Awards and Honors

NBA All-Star: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
All-NBA Team:
First Team: 2008
Second Team: 2009
NBA All-Defensive Team:
First Team: 2009
Second Team: 2008
NBA Rookie of the Year: 2006
NBA All-Rookie First Team: 2006
Bronze medal with Team USA, 2006 FIBA World Championship
Notched second place on ESPN’s greatest player of the 2007–2008 regular season
Gold medal with Team USA, 2008 Summer Olympic Games

NBA Records

Consecutive games with a steal: 108,  April 13, 2007 to  December 23, 2008
Most games with at least one steal, season: 80 (2007–08)
Fifth player in NBA history to lead the league in assists and steals in the same season
Only player in NBA history to lead the league in assists and steals in consecutive seasons (2007–08–2008–09)
2nd in NBA history:
Seasons leading the league in steals: 2 (2007–08–2008–09)
Consecutive seasons leading the league in steals: 2 (2007–08–2008–09)
Steals, half: 7, first half, vs. Dallas Mavericks,  February 20, 2008
3rd in NBA history:
Highest average, assists per game, career: 10.0 (3,446/345)
Steals, game: 9, vs. Dallas Mavericks,  February 20, 2008

New Orleans Hornets Records

Regular Season
Free throws made, career: 1,634
Highest average, assists per game, career: 10.0 (3,446/345)
Assists, season: 925 (2007–08) (11.6 apg)
Assists, game: 21, at Los Angeles Lakers,  November 6, 2007
Assists, half: 14, second half, at Los Angeles Lakers,  November 6, 2007
Games with 10 or more assists, season: 59 (2007–08)
Point-assist double-doubles, career: 150
Point-assist double-doubles, season: 56 (2007–08)
Point-assist double-doubles: 8, twice
8,  March 5, 2008 to  March 19, 2008
8,  March 25, 2008 to  April 6, 2008
Triple-doubles, career: 11
Triple-doubles, season: 6 (2008–09)
Steals, season: 217, 2007–08 (2.7 spg)
Steals, game: 9, vs. Dallas Mavericks,  February 20, 2008
Steals, half: 7, first half, vs. Dallas Mavericks,  February 20, 2008

Rookie
Highest free throw percentage, season: .847 (394-465)
Free throws made, game: 14, at New York Knicks,  January 21, 2006
Free throw attempts, game: 17, at New York Knicks,  January 21, 2006
Assists, season: 611 (7.8 apg)
Assists, game: 16, vs. Golden State Warriors,  April 5, 2006
Steals, season: 175 (2.2 spg)
Steals, game: 7, vs. Utah Jazz,  February 22, 2006

Playoffs
Highest average, assists per game, career: 11.0 (187/17)
Assists, game: 17, vs. Dallas Mavericks,  April 22, 2008

Other Information

Paul is an official member of the Nike Team Jordan brand. He was one of only three athletes (Derek Jeter and Carmelo Anthony being the others) to have had his own shoe made with the brand.
Paul was the cover athlete for the video game NBA 2K8.

This post was submitted by mbdtf.

6 comments
42
42

Hey, great work here. I'll fiddle with it and see if I can make the video clips appear.

mbdtf
mbdtf

So it turns out that none of the youtube videos that had showed up during the preview of this post are now showing. :(

42
42

Post the links to the video clips here. They are not in the code for the post.

mbdtf
mbdtf

Yeah, that's fine. Thanks!

42
42

My first attempt didn't work. I'll try some things, but would you like me, as a stop gap, to just put the links in the right spots in the post for people to click?

mbdtf
mbdtf

"...One of the most touching stories I’ve seen from a high school athlete or any athlete for that matter:" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuMPVq2YzTk "...Some incredible plays in here:" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2e4441UNVAs "...Buzzer beater!" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq8Zk1mSXOY "...He was drafted 4th overall by the New Orleans Hornets in 2005." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_TwqdMNyfw "...Though all 10 plays are ridiculous, I'd say #2 is my favorite. Insane." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gYcQCH3b_g "...I couldn't find a top 10 plays of the year for him, but this play should suffice:" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDjzvJYWtoc "...Again I couldn't find a top 10 plays of the year for him, but this is a great video. I love when he begs not to come out of the game near the end of the video. Gotta love him." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THzAvrBQE5g "...Playoff Debut: 35 points, 10 assists, 3 rebounds, and 4 steals in a 104-92 win over the Mavericks." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5z-2SmHp58 "...There were great highlight videos for each game of both series, but I decided that I'd just put up his playoff debut and one other coming up. This play is probably my favorite from the two series:" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZAiq3YCx8s "...After the season, Paul was selected to the NBA All-Defensive Team first team, and the All-NBA second team. He was also fifth in the 2009 MVP voting, receiving two first place votes and a total of 192 points." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCQH8GMaZNQ "...In my opinion, one of his best plays of the first half of the season:" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP8_j-eGu84