Counter-point: Chris Paul is the Answer

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Published: December 3, 2011

I’m just going to say it bluntly.

Trading Chris Paul will be the worst decision this franchise has ever made.

Now, if you’ve listened to the Podcast and read the blog, you’ll probably wonder at such an unequivocal stance from me.  I always hedge.  Hell, I wanted to hedge on the statement above, and my first draft started with.  “if there is any chance the Hornets can keep Chris Paul past next season . . . ”

You know what, though?  That’s crap.  There is no way a Paul trade will net equal value.  He’s not Carmelo Anthony – a faux star who scores inefficiently and does very little at an above average rate.  Anthony can be replaced by a parcel of middling talents.  Chris Paul cannot.  This isn’t an unproven Kobe Bryant traded for a needed center, or LJ being traded for Anthony Mason.  The only thing that could possibly come close was letting Alonzo Mourning walk, and that was as much to keep LJ as to keep from paying Mourning the largest contract in NBA history at the time.  This would be worse.

Now, I could, for the umpteenth million time, start talking about advanced stats and efficiency and Chris Paul’s position among the league’s top five in almost every category.  Instead, I’m going to do what I never do.  I’m going to simplify this down to scoring.

  • A team needs enough quality to win 55 wins or more in order to be a real contender for a championship.
  • A team, on average, needs to scores 5 more points per game than their opponent to win 55 games or more.
  • Chris Paul, over his career, scores 1.46 points per shot.
  • An average player scores 1.22 points per shot.
  • Over 11 shots per game(Paul’s average last year) Paul adds a +2.64 to the Hornets point differential compared the to NBA average.

In other words, Paul gets you more than halfway to contender status if you fill the rest of the team with purely average scorers and defenders.  By himself.

And that ignores any additional boost his passing provides the rest of the team’s efficiency. It ignores the fact he’s a better than average defender himself.  It ignores his ability to not turn the ball over and the way that keeps the Hornets as one of the least turnover-prone teams in the league.  Add all that together, and would anyone argue that he could make a team of average players a contender all by himself?

If the Hornets trade him for a platter of players like the Nuggets received, then each player might be worth half a point or maybe a full point over the average.  Even with 4-5 players being included, all of decent to good quality, there isn’t much chance they’d match the 2.64 points over differential that Paul provides – much less all the other stuff.  Paul is that rare of a talent.

But let’s say those players do combine to match Paul.  These hypothetical 4-5 players, since they are good, will each command an average salary or better.  That’s the reality of the NBA.  That means they will cost the Hornets anywhere from $30-40 million a year to keep around based on their scoring prowess.   Besides the big price tag, you now have to rely on 4-5 players to all keep in shape, keep interested, stay healthy, and work their tails off every night.  If you are just outside contender status and need an amazing run, you now need 2-3 players to get hot and produce 20% more than usual for a series.

CP3, on the other hand, will probably average around $18-20 million a year as a single max-contract talent.  If the Hornets need a push, it’s more than plausible that Paul could surge in the playoffs and dominate for a few games. (Think of it this way – add an average shooting guard’s performance for New Orleans to the Lakers-Hornets series this last year, and doesn’t Kobe go home in round 1?)

The risks are the same, injury-wise. If Paul goes down, the Hornets do too – but really, if any of the above good players go down, things are finished there too, it just won’t be as obvious.

To me, the Hornets already have the one player that could make them a championship contender with a couple good signings and a touch or two or luck.  Moving him, for anything, would be a disaster.

Get West.  Get a better Wing.  Play out the season and see what happens.  Maybe it will be something magical.

29 comments
L_REAZY
L_REAZY

CORRECTION: Trading Kobe Bryant on draft day for Vlade Divac was the worst decision this franchise ever made!!! They did, however, recover from that mistake! L_REAZY

NOS-3rd Gen
NOS-3rd Gen

I'm so tired of everybody thinking that their in CP3's head and knows what he wants. How come I'm hearing all these rumors from another people/agents, but not from CP3 himself, And don't get mad at him if he do wants win a championship or leave, and If U want 2 get mad at someone, get mad at the Hornets organization for playing it safe, not trying to do anything to get a third superstar and stop trying to develop players too much. Everybody is already riding this season off as if we don't have a chance to achieve anything! I think Now Is the Time of the hornets. Hornets have a chance to dominate this year by stop playing it safe, stop trying to develop so many ppl and finally get a Big 3 going in New Orleans. Once we have a Big 3 in da N.O. and a supporting cast THIS year is our only chance, and CP3 would 'nt want 2 break that up!!! let him play this year out!!!

notoriousBEE
notoriousBEE

Is it totally delusional for me to hope that we sign West, Landry, and Tyson Chandler? Can someone tell me why this won't happen?

NOS-3rd Gen
NOS-3rd Gen

well from my point of view nobody really comes back to the team they left on bad terms with + T.C would want too much money that he's not worth, so Tyson Chandler is out. Landry wants to be paid Starter type money, but if we do sign him and West back bad chemistry might come in to play, and if west does come back West would want too much Money. So to put it in simple term we won't have enough money for all three of them!

notoriousBEE
notoriousBEE

I'm not gonna freak out yet. I don't believe ANY of what the sports "media" publishes. They are in the entertainment biz - they know that nobody cares where Nene is going. So (sources say) Chris Paul is the NBA storyline, especially on Mondays when there isn't any football news. CP3 wants to keep his options open - who can blame him. He may stay, but if the hornets are in terrible shape after this short free agency period, which is unfortunately very possible, who could fault him for wanting to relocate. I'm sure he has been advised by his agents/publicists not to comment one way or another. It wouldn't be smart for him to say he wants to be a hornet. It would make him look like a jerk if he ends up leaving. (Remember when Saban was "not going to Alabama"). I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt based on his past performance as a class act. He'll discuss the situation with Demps, and if CP3 isn't going to resign, Demps will do what is best for the franchise. I do know this. CP3 is a smart guy. He just sat in on the entire CBA negotiation process. He knows he's not getting traded to NY for nothing. I also know he won't be consulting Chris Broussard, Ken Berger, or any of the other idiots that "report" for ESPN etc. about his next move. I'm looking forward to seeing what Demps can do in the next couple weeks, and I'm looking forward to watching CP3 play for the hornets this year - hopefully, it won't be his last.

Nithenz
Nithenz

Well said Ryan, anything could happen in a season. What if we get lucky and end up in the finals and lose? He would be a hipocrit if he says he want to win, we win (not all the way but close enough to believe we can do it with some minor changes) and he goes?? Stranger things happened. I rather see him walk and have 18M in cap space than watching Billups and Turiaf one year and watch THEM leave in a year (No disrespect to Chauncey, allways like him but he is not even Ch Pa). Take a chance, play a season, take your chances.

m-W
m-W

I couldn't agree any more with everything Ryan has said here.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

I also agree with Ryan's last line. I'd rather take a chance and lose than not take the change, damn the torpedoes. I think this is the best course of action even if Chris is saying he doesn't want to be here. Unless he is belligerent, you take the chance. . By the way, getting the fan base excited about their star and watching him force his way out of town after everything we will have accomplished by then will no doubt take a bite out of attendance, but it will increase the core. Keeping him around and making him walk himself willl create a villain to some, and there's nothing we love better, as a town, than sticking it to some team then getting the fans drunk. Also, it's not like cap room is nothing. Limp along for a season and then see what you can grab in the amnesty+tax wave in 2013. Milk him for all he's worth. I just think Dell will not look at it that way. He clearly prefers trades. To trade, you need assets. To get the most assets, you have to trade him. I like Ryan's plan . . . it's my plan too . . . I just don't think Dell will go that way. He could be overruled if he thinks as I suspect. Nice work. Glad I agreed to play the chump in this point-counterpoint.

JP
JP

no doubt I love CP but for the team lets get realistic, he doesnt want to be here and we cant afford to take that chance and have another Cleveland situation where he leaves and we get nothing in return. but i do agree, he is only gonna want to go to NY and they dont have enough to give us for him so we are gonna have to get a third or fourth team in..................................

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Cleveland got 2 first rounders and a traded player exception. Same for Toronto. What does Denver have going into this season? One player on a qualifying offer, one player with one year and a qualifying year after, and one player on a 2 year deal, and the longer deals are the worse players. I'll take the picks and space.

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

i've always said it, now and forever, once you have a once in a lifetime generation player like Paul (even without the statistics which Ryan so gladly explained). We do everything we can to keep him. I didn't hate Cleveland for what they did. There were a few bumps along the way, but there approach was not wrong. OKC was lucky Durant wasn't too good too fast. Paul and Lebron were good too fast. I agree with Michael in the podcast, had Paul not been TOO good in his first year, we could have gotten a Rudy Gay, maybe a different Tyrus Thomas(a better), or a Lamarcus Aldridge. Unless Paul directly says "trade me", i'd rather see him walk away. The chances of getting (and/or developing) a player of Paul's level is 1 in a million. Let's build from scratch so that Demps can work his magic on a few consecutive draft nights finding potential and Monty developing it. :)

paul
paul

i like Paul. But I must be missing something in all the glorious Paul speak. Once in a lifetime player? Um...he is not that to me. No, not even that close. That role is still special and given to very few. Today's game has LeBron, What's his name on the Lakers(!), and I could go on but get tired of thinking when I drinks, ya know...Bird, Johnson, etc. Of course the likes of Jordan and his era players. These guys fill arenas JUST because they are on the calender. Paul doesn't fill up the United Center in Chicago. The buzz isn't around the city that Paul is in town tonight. No...but it does when the really big greats are in. But I don't think Paul up there. And I'm not sure he physically can get there. He has broken down and time is going past fast.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Hello nikkoewan. :) Nice post.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Perhaps your new starting point guard Jarrett Jack will get Marco the ball 'more'. SMH.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Monty trying to turn Marco and Ariza into creators last season=mega fail.

Bee-fense
Bee-fense

I never want to see Trevor drive to the basket again

QueenBee
QueenBee

Trevor is a defensive player. He can sometimes knock down wide open 3's and perhaps do some backdoor cuts but I agree, he shouldn't be driving to the basket. Monty was trying to get other players to be creators outside of Chris Paul but the 2 that he was trying to make create, Marco and Trevor, that's not their thing. If you want to have other players create fine, but not those two.

James Online
James Online

Get Marco the ball more and the entire offense improves. Team is Paul-centric to a fault.

RobertM320
RobertM320

Not sure I agree about Marco, but there's no doubt the team has been Paul-centric to a fault.

cro_CP3
cro_CP3

Post of the year here and my fav line: "Get West. Get a better Wing. Play out the season and see what happens. Maybe it will be something magical."

QueenBee
QueenBee

And I'm gonna forget all this for now. It's going down in Rupp Arena right now. LOL!

David
David

You never get equal value from trading a superstar unless you luck out with a draft pick, that doesnt mean trading paul will be a mistake. The mistake will be to play out the season, lose paul and end up with nothing Id much rather the hornets play it safe and get something when was last time a superstar remained loyal to his small franchise? Lebron bailed, so did Bosh, Melo and all points to Howard doing the same, last time I can think of was when Duncan refused Orlando and remained in SA, but Paul is no Duncan he WILL leave, get SOMETHING.

notoriousBEE
notoriousBEE

yep.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Well said Ryan. It's amazing to me that Paul would go to the Knicks, where truthfully, there isn't a 'guarantee' that he would 'win' there. Sure, you'll have a 'chance'. But with all that's going on in this organization in the near future, you can have a 'chance' here as well. Take a pay cut to play with players that you are better than? Really? LOL at the thought of that. I asked Joe to ask Paul what would his Papa Chilly do. He'd probably see Leon Rose and his CAA and LMRLOLLLL as devils in sheeps clothing. Paul is a country boy. He isn't really into bright lights and big cities. That's someone else pushing that. Heck, as fab a city as NOLA is and while it isn't New York or L.A., it didn't stop him from becoming a household name, a perennial all-star, an MVP candidate and most of all, a great point guard. He wouldn't mind playing in Pascagoula Mississippi or Timbuktu if it meant he could win a championship. So it ain't all about the bright lights and big city for him. It's almost like Paul and his buddies have a bet as to who will win a championship first or something because where is it written that you must win a ring by the age 26? How old was Isiah when he won his first championship? Everybody is impatient and want ready made championships. That's where the NBA and the NFL differ. You can't buy championships in the NFL. I'll bet Drew Brees probably feels even better about his Superbowl Championship than he would have had he won it earlier in his career. He probably has the sense of feeling that his hard work has paid off over the years. And he's not done by any means. I've said it before and I'll say it again, with Demps being from the school of Holt, Buford and Popovich, I'd like to think that he is a smart man. He'll know what to do. I sure hope he knows what to do. It wouldn't surprise me if he hasn't had conversations with those guys over this very situation. Dell being the Hornets GM absolutely HAS to do what's best for this Hornets team, whatever that may be.

paul
paul

But it's all about the money. I wish I had a dime for every pro player that said his/her "heart" is bla blah blah. Just do me a favor and treat me as the somewhat intelligent human I think I am. You would do what every player and/or team should do...go where the money is. This ain't a long term sport. You can be out with injuries or loss of position due to better and younger talent in a nano second. So go for it. It ain't science. Y\If a player, you have a responsibility to you family, you children's children…if a team owner, to your shareholders and city and fans...if fans mean anything other than ticket sales. So just stop soft soaping me with just a pocket full of change. You don't heart me.

cro_CP3
cro_CP3

I think Paul will buy into what Dell is going to say to him on the 9th December, great post, I believe in Dell Demps!

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