The best point guard’s in the game today played against one another this past weekend. Lost amid other games of note—particularly the Spurs-Heat matchup on Sunday night, which ceded most of its luster after the Bulls ended the Heat’s winning streak last week—the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs went at each other on Friday night at the AT&T Center, and it was everything you’d want in a late-season game between two of the best teams in the superior Western Conference. Read more…
Chris Paul’s basketball acumen has been routinely praised around the league throughout his career. Since coming into the NBA from Wake Forest, there are few points guards that could challenge Paul in maturity and basic basketball intelligence. He’s considered the top point guard in the game today, but it’s not because of gaudy scoring and passing statistics, or a killer crossover—though he’s got one of those too—it’s because of his leadership abilities and willingness to do anything in order to get the win. Even shirk scoring opportunities for most of three and a half quarters before lighting up his man in the fourth.
Perhaps the best example of Paul’s ability to read the game, and adapt accordingly, comes during the last 40-30 seconds of a quarter. It’s here where Paul figures out the best odds and then goes out and follows through. He did it again earlier this week in Los Angeles’ win over Utah. Read more…
Chris Paul may have lost his basketball matchup with Kyrie Irving last night, but he ALWAYS wins on the battlefield of Youtube.
Last night’s preseason game between the Clippers and Jazz was not only played at a regular season level of intensity, but it also featured more than a few moves that deserve to take place in games that actually matter. Even on a night when Jeremy Evans Felix Baumgartner’d Ronnie Turiaf, this ridiculous hesitation spin by Chris Paul was my personal favorite. If you can, I suggest re-watching the game purely to take note of the seeds of beef that were planted between Paul Millsap and Blake Griffin. Pretty sure those two aren’t friends on Facebook.
On the surface, predicting who will win the NBA’s MVP award is extremely easy. Select a really good player on a really good team, then call it a day. But, unfortunately, as we travel through each new season, a subjective investigation is given to the word “valuable,” and all hell breaks loose. Is it designed to reward the league’s best player? Or should it go to whomever is most important to their specific team—the player most obviously carrying his team towards the playoffs.
If the world we lived in were strictly based on facts and statistics as a means to present logical evidence, the 2012-13 MVP discussion would contain seven players. Here they are, in no particular order: LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love, Dwight Howard, and Andrew Bynum. Read more…
At around 1:30 this morning I sat upright in bed, two knees tucked deep in my chest, far from exhaustion and completely enveloped in the most competitive/entertaining/violent series these playoffs have so far produced. It was then that an idea for a column appeared in front of my face; I’d name it, “The Call That Changed Everything”, and here’s how it would go. Read more…
At the risk of using hyperbole: this entire sequence is breathtaking. The way Paul controls a basketball as if there is no ball in his hands is remarkable. He dances around the court, going as fast or as slow as he thinks is best—making you believe he wants to get to the line one moment and then quickly stepping back between his legs and preferring a jumper the next. Sometimes we say people are too smart for their own good, that they have so many thoughts brewing in their head at once that the collision of separate ideas will cause them to outthink which one should be chosen. Something tells me we won’t be applying this saying to Chris Paul anytime soon.
Normally, when a big man switches onto Chris Paul, he lures the giant out, waits for his large teammates to position themselves under the basket in the unlikely event he misses, then launches one of the deadliest mid-range jump shots basketball’s ever seen. This past weekend, when he chose to put one of the most devastating in and out dribbles I’ve ever seen on Marc Gasol, Paul instead chose to show off and have some fun. Needless to say, it was awesome.
The dazzling performances Chris Paul puts on have almost gotten to a point where there’s nothing left to write, nothing left to analyze, nothing left to explain. Paul is one of the universe’s best shooters. He orchestrates one of the most organized and efficient 4th quarter offenses in league history. And his crossover remains a nightly masterpiece of slippery theatre.
In order for this Clippers team to win the season’s final game, it comes down to Chris Paul doing the type of extraordinary things that only a talent like him could make a regularity. It’s plays like the one above, when a defense desperately throws yet another man at him (in this case, Rudy Fernandez, which is like using a snow ball to stop a plow), where Paul is at his most commanding, cooly adding two more points to his team’s total. Astonishing work. Hopefully in L.A., he’s able to perform on the type of early summer stage that could take moments like this and put them under the biggest spotlight he’s ever seen. It’d be most deserving.
Today, NBC’s Pro Basketball Talk posted a clip featuring various NBA players discussing who they think owns the league’s best crossover. Guys like Jason Terry, Lou Williams, Jrue Holiday, and Courtney Lee cite both Jamal Crawford and Derrick Rose as being the top two candidates. As I mentioned in this morning’s piece on Deron Williams, both are fine options, and there’s really no placing one above the other. But where this clip gets it wrong is it’s exclusion of what I believe to be one of the league’s four or five most unstoppable sequences.
Chris Paul’s crossover is more devastating to a defense because when it happens, all five defenders are equally in trouble. Once he blows by that first guy he’s infiltrated the core. Instead of focusing on getting to the rim or knocking down a shot for himself, passing lanes have naturally developed and everything breaks down. When it happens—as the relentless torture ensues—opposing coaching staffs are forced to look away. As good as Rose and Crawford are, once they get close to the basket it’s like a shark sniffing blood: they want to score, and defense’s have very tall men who’re paid to stop them. Paul is different though, because the ways he can put two points on the board for his team are unpredictable, smart, and varying. Crawford and Rose have elegant crossovers, but I believe Chris Paul’s is the best.
Take note of the move above. Right now Tony Allen is regarded as the best perimeter defender in basketball. Just LOOK at what Chris Paul does to him. For me, it’s an open and shut case.