The New Chris Paul

Published: March 2, 2011

With the Hornets mired in a slump going into their longest road trip of the season, there is a simple equation as to what’s wrong, and we as Hornet fans aren’t used to it. We are getting beaten soundly at the starting PG position. While knee-jerk reactions will abound, there have been signs of a change in Chris Paul’s game all year, and even into last season. It’s gotten so bad recently that he’s been out-played by his backup.

Chris Paul has 13 points on 22 shots over the last two games, which is horrendous, and an extremely small sample size. He also has 17 assists to 1 turnover, so its not all bad. I think the reality is, with Chris’s style of play early in his career, the writing was on the wall. His days of being a dominating player are extremely finite. I’ve seen him control the pace of a handful of games this season, but then I ask myself, “When was the last time I saw Chris Paul completely dominate a game?” The answer I come up with is “sometime in the spring of 2009.” We all know there is a huge difference between “controlling” and “dominating” a game. I think we’re looking at what will be the new Chris Paul, the dreaded “effective game manager.”

I do believe that health is playing a big role in Chris’s play of late, but the guy has had multiple ankle and knee surgeries in his career. It hasn’t been as publicized like it has in Brandon Roy’s case, but I’d be willing to bet that Paul’s meniscus condition is likewise degenerative. I’m happy to have been a season ticket holder during 07-08, and even most of 08-09, when I saw CP playing at peak form, because I think that those days are extremely few and far-between moving forward. Its sad to entertain the notion that Chris will probably not have the type of career that some of his predecessors (Stockton, Nash, Kidd, Isiah Thomas) enjoyed. I just don’t see him playing that long. I forsee him having 4-6 more effective years left, followed by 4 or so more “ring-chasing” years after that as a journeyman 1-year contract player.

Here’s the conundrum for the Hornets in the short term, the team needs more than a game-managing PG. They need real scoring punch to the tune of around 18-20ppg. The rest of the team, oustide of West and perhaps Landry, just (a) doesn’t shoot well enough or (b) cannot create their own shot. So what do the Hornets do? I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions.

What’s next for CP? Well, there are a multitude of factors, and most of it depends on the labor negotiations. If a system is collectively bargained that looks in any way like this system we are currently under, then CP is as good as gone. he knows he has one more chance to win it all as a major contributor, and knows he can’t be “the man” night-in and night-out anymore. He’ll go join his boy Melo in NY. If the have something resembling a hard cap, then there probably aren’t enough teams out there that can really make a run at him. Other scenarios include him pulling a Baron Davis, or the Hornets realizing that Chris may not suit their true long-term plans, thereby shipping him out.

This journal has no basis in fact. It’s just a series of observations and conjecture. Feel free to rip me apart. This was a very difficult journal for me to write


This post was submitted by Mikey.


  1. 42

    March 2, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Ryan “Suge” Schwan may have something to say about you writing this piece, especially since yours is good, too.

    • Hornet Seantonio

      March 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      Just read ryans on espn didnt realize it was him, i thought it was good. but now knowing it was ryans give me a few mins to muster up some criticism

  2. Kirk

    March 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Maybe we should trade cp3 before the rest of the world figures out tht he isn’t the same cp3 from years past…I honestly believe cp3 will leave next summer anyway and the only reason I think he will leave is because he sees the talent in NYC and knows that this new cp3 can’t win by himself.

  3. Mikey

    March 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Well, Ryan put that better than I could have ever hoped to have done. Make no mistake, this does not mean Chris Paul sucks all of a sudden. It just means that I’ve noticed that his game has changed. His assist to turnover ratio is still off the charts good. Admittedly, I have no clue if Monty Williams’ system restricts his offensive creativity. I know coach Williams wants to run his offense at a deliberate pace. I didn’t want to get into that. It’s just a question of whether the new Chris Paul fits into the Hornets scheme for the future or not.

  4. ryan a.

    March 2, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    he fits into the scheme if the hornets have a scorer at the 2 or the 3 but green/belli/ariza/new cp do not cut it right now. they are used to get getting15-20 points a game out of him and right now hes not getting anywhere close to that. I beleive he has lost a step since the knee surgery but the main problem is that his shot just doesnt seem to be falling. if he can get his shot back his scoring numbers will be more what were used to seeing i beleive but he will no longer dominate games as mikey stated above

  5. Pingback: Game On: Hornets @ Knicks |

  6. Bstill

    March 2, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I’m watching the knicks vs. Hornets right now and I agree with the entire article. It’s no where near the same chris Paul and thats 100% of the problem with this team. He has no lift. Can’t chase down loose balls the same. Same with: 1st step past a defender, jumping for rebounds, penetrating in the lane, rotating on defense, leading the fast break, creating 2nd and 3rd shot options. Any of it, all of it. The entire game is different for him. For a team that was great because Chris paul was all-world great is a much different team without that talent. The team I’m watching tonight that looks like they have Carlos arroyo at the point is not winning many games to end this season. I’m sure he’ll have better nights than this, but as a knick n even I’m saddened to see such a different player going forward.

  7. jgman

    March 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    the new cp3 I’m pretty sure is quitting on us, right when we could make a run to get into 4th place in the west….
    I’m getting so upset I can hardly even watch the games anymore. I just don’t see any positive for us. Chris makes our team good, without him we wouldn’t even be .500. Without Chris, David would be a good player, but not as good, oak would be an average center, maybe, ariza would be about the same, hardly any output on offense. Our 2’s would be complete garbage, and our bench would be pathetic. Who could we possibly trade chris for? we wouldn’t get any stars, they are all already traded. We could get a lot of good pieces maybe like the melo trade and rebuild our team but we would have no star and would be worse off. I don’t see us bouncing back from losing cp3 for years, but we can’t do anything if he wants to leave.

  8. usufruct

    March 2, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    I’d like to see a trade for paul. Either move Jack to starting pg and bring in a bad-ass shooting guard and a decent backup big (this is what I’d like to see). Or we could keep Jack at backup and bring in a starting pg and get a slightly less bad-ass shooting guard. I just hope we’ll be able to maximize our return on chris, as I know other teams are watching him closely, too. That said, I’m waiting for the nationwide articles touting chris’s decline.

    • 42

      March 2, 2011 at 11:06 pm

      There was one today, and it was referenced in the comments to this post . . . by me.

      • usufruct

        March 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm

        Thanks for pointing that out. Had your blurb about the article been more informative, I might have clicked the link. If there’s one thing you can count on at 247 these days it’s a smartass comment from you. I know Niall’s off saving the world and all but seems like since he left, the professionalism around here has gone way down. In my opinion, it’s unfortunate you’ve come to play such a large role around here.

      • usufruct

        March 3, 2011 at 9:57 pm

        And no, it wasn’t me that disliked your post. Kudos to whoever did though.

  9. Henryali

    March 3, 2011 at 9:11 am

    People CP3 has to play a totally different game now due to that injury. He is a step slower and not as explosive as he was before but you all have to realize that he does not fit in well with Monty William’s offensive system anymore. He fits in well with the Knicks system more than the Hornet’s system. Yeah he is having a bad season but he is trying to adjust to playing a different role than what he was before. I would like to say that if he was playing with the Knicks he would be killing right now in the NBA. Just saying

    • 42

      March 3, 2011 at 10:47 am

      Yeah, he’d be awesome if he filed a change of address form with the USPS.

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